22 Apr 2014

Iwi lobby for council representation

8:32 pm on 22 April 2014

The fight for iwi representation on New Plymouth district council has now been taken to the Crown.

On 15 April the council chose not to accept iwi representation through six tribal seats on standing committees - with full voting rights.

Treaty claims negotiator for Te Atiawa, Peter Moeahu, is calling on the Government to intervene.

He says although New Plymouth mayor, Andrew Judd, voted yes to iwi appointments, seven councillors didn't see it that way.

Mr Moeahu says he wants to reinforce the fact that Mr Judd tried to do the right thing by northern Taranaki tribes in allowing them to have dedicated Maori seats on the council.

He says he will be appealing to Te Tai Hauauru MP, Tariana Turia, and the chief Crown Treaty negotiator, Rick Barker.

Mr Moeahu says Mr Barker has been working with the New Plymouth District Council on Te Atiawa's Treaty settlement, and is hoping he can use his influence to persuade the council.

The proposal was for six iwi chairs from Ngati Tama, Ngati Mutunga, Te Atiawa, Ngati Maru and Taranaki iwi to be installed on standing committees with full voting rights.

But, the seven councillors who voted no said that by having un-elected iwi representatives is undemocratic and that voters in the New Plymouth district should decide.

Mr Moeahu says each candidate that was put forward already went through a robust process to get to that stage and had the mandate of their individual iwi.