14 Feb 2011

Maori board to take court action after funding cut

10:28 pm on 14 February 2011

A statutory board set up to represent Maori in Auckland is heading to the High Court after a big cut to its previously agreed funding.

The Auckland Council has decided to provide the unelected board with $2.85 million over 20 months - about $2.5 million less than councillors last week unanimously agreed to fund.

The decision last week was found to be invalid and in the renewed four- hour debate on Monday, many councillors spoke of unhappiness among ratepayers.

Councillors agreed that the board will be given $950,000 for its first eight months, and $1.9 million for the next 12 months.

The Independent Maori Statutory Board was set up as part of Auckland's local body amalgamation with members able to sit on some council committees.

Board chairman David Taipari believes the council is in breach of the law by not meeting the body's reasonable costs.

Mayor Len Brown believes the council is making the best out of a structure forced upon it by the Government and that it can continue to work well with the statutory board.

Councillors agreed on Monday to make a formal request to the Government to clarify legislation that set up the board.