The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has voted unanimously to establish Māori constituencies for the 2022 and 2025 local elections. These seats will ensure those on the Māori electoral roll have guaranteed representation proportional to their share of the population.
Māori constituencies are the regional council equivalent of a Māori electorate in Parliament or Māori ward for city or district councils.
Chair Rex Graham has welcomed the decision.
“I’m really pleased we have decided this. It’s taken a while but we have got this important decision over the line,” he says.
Co-chair of the Māori Committee, Michelle McIlroy, says she extremely proud of the community and their demonstration of unity resulting in an 89% result of overall submissions in favour.
“This sends a powerful statement supporting our people to have a decision-making seat at the table as was promised in 1840. It’s great to finally have a say over our taonga tuku iho left by our ancestors. Also a voice for the taiao, most especially the mauri, the essence, protection and care of our wai,” she says.
“To all those 89% who wrote their submissions, who spoke in favour of Maori constituencies and to those before us who fought time after time for what was promised – tenei te mihi kia koutou katoa.”
Regional councillors agreed in February to consult with the Hawke’s Bay community. An online campaign was followed by public hearings of submissions, and the Council made its decision at an extraordinary meeting today.
The next step for the Regional Council will be a representation review to determine the total number of councillors, as well as Maori and General constituency boundaries and their names, which will be consulted upon in accordance with the Local Electoral Act.
19 May 2021
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