24 Apr 2014

Stronger lead on Maori seats sought

5:11 am on 24 April 2014

New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd is lobbying the Government to implement Maori seats on the district council.

Last week seven councillors voted down a proposal to have iwi representatives appointed to standing committees with full voting rights.

Previously, a Maori voice was represented through a Komiti Maori which was a sub-committee of council.

After consulting with iwi, Mr Judd, says tangata whenua felt they were not being engaged at a level that was important to them and suggested having tribal seats on standing committees.

Now that the council has rejected his recommendation, Mr Judd, says he will be asking what the Government can do to intervene.

He met with Local Government Minister Paula Bennett on Wednesday to raise the issue.

Mr Judd says as the council is governed by the Local Government Act which requires it to involve iwi in a meaningful way.

The New Plymouth mayor says other councils across the country have different degrees of engagement with local tribes which he thinks is dysfunctional and unclear.

Mr Judd says he is looking to central Government to set a stronger direction.