30 May 2012

Waikato set to include Maori council seats

6:33 am on 30 May 2012

Waikato Regional Council is about to embark on the final step to implement two Maori seats.

The council voted in October last year to include two Maori seats alongside the 12 general seats.

Chairman Peter Buckley says the council is now at the stage where proposed constituency boundaries have been drawn up, and will go out for public consultation on 6 June.

Mr Buckley says the boundaries should be set by the end of the year and Maori electors will have the chance to vote for its first Maori councillors at the 2013 local elections.

He says it will be a significant milestone for local government in Waikato, where 21% of the population are Maori.

The only other council which has Maori seats is Bay of Plenty Regional Council, which has three seats.

Nelson City Council, and Wairoa District Council earlier this month had majorities of voters reject proposals for Maori wards on their councils.