29 May 2012

Bay of Plenty says Maori seats positive for region

6:31 am on 29 May 2012

Bay of Plenty Regional Council says fears voiced by some in the community before three Maori seats were established have proven unfounded.

Nelson City Council tried to create a Maori ward earlier this month, but a public poll turned down the idea.

No unitary council in the country has a Maori ward, but Bay of Plenty regional council has three Maori seats and the Waikato regional council has voted to establish two.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chair John Cronin says Maori seats were established in 2001.

Mr Cronin says the public did not vote on the creation of the three seats, instead the decision was made by the council, who then petitioned government to pass special laws to ensure Maori seats were implemented.

He says there was some opposition from people who did not like the idea of separate seats that were not representative of all constituents.

But he says Maori seats have been a positive move and have allowed the Maori population to get their issues on the table.