19 Jun 2012

BOP council says Maori wards work well

6:36 pm on 19 June 2012

Bay of Plenty Regional Council leaders say establishing three Maori seats was a very positive move.

Nelson City Council and Wairoa District Council were last month blocked by voters from establishing Maori wards in their electoral areas, when the proposals failed to win majority support in separate referendums.

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

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chairperson, John Cronin, says Maori seats were set up in 2001 after a council decision.

But Mr Cronin says there was some opposition from the community at the time as many people did not like the idea of a separate seat which did not represent all people.