Māori 'need more of a voice in local govt'

8:19 am on 14 August 2015

Labour MP Kelvin Davis says Māori need more of a voice in local government than just token consultation.

Labour MP , Kelvin Davis.

Kelvin Davis Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Yesterday the Hawke's Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill passed its third reading which gives iwi and hapū in the Hawke's Bay rohe more say in council-making decisions.

Mr Davis said Māori were sometimes considered a minority, but as a Treaty partner they should be given the representation that they deserve.

He said Māori under-representation was a long-standing issue.

"Māori haven't been listened to. Māori needs haven't been seen to since the Treaty has been signed.

"Things have been done ad-hoc, it's been a bit here and a bit there in local council and even in Parliament - it's not really a partnership of equal weighting."

Mr Davis said there was a lack of genuine and thorough consultation between the Crown and Māori.

"That's really where Māori get upset is when decisions have been made and we're just told about them and we just have to get on with whatever decision has been made on our behalf. Thats just wrong."

Mr Davis said people think that more Māori input will result in longer Government processes, but he said instead it would dampen down some of the tensions between Māori and the Crown.

He said there needed to be a genuine discussion around Māori involvement in local government.