21 Mar 2012

Govt says Maori Statutory Board safe under changes

7:05 am on 21 March 2012

The Government has given an assurance that Auckland Council's Independent Maori Statutory Board will not be axed as part of a revamp of local authorities.

Planned reforms include stopping councils from being involved in the social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing of their communities.

The Maori board's job is to promote issues of significance for the Mana Whenua and Maori in Tamaki Makaurau and help Auckland Council make decisions.

Local Government Minister Nick Smith says the board is staying and it has a very important role to play in the council's decisions about local infrastructure and services.

Dr Smith says councils need to cut back on other functions, such as setting targets around NCEA qualification pass rates, which is the role of the Ministry of Education.

Prime Minister John Key says Maori advisory panels and statutory boards attached to councils will also stay.

However, Mr Key says he does not support the Maori Party's push for councils to have separate Maori wards.