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Parliament to vote on making local wards process fair

The Green Party is thrilled to have had a Member’s Bill drawn from the ballot today that will help enable better Māori representation at a local government level.

Green Party MP Marama Davidson’s Local Electoral (Equitable Process for Establishing Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill was today pulled from the ballot. If passed, it will ensure that the establishment of both Māori and general wards and constituencies on district and regional councils follow the same legal process.

Currently, the establishment of Māori wards in local government can be put to a referendum, whereas general wards can’t be – they are decided by councils alone.

“I am so pleased that my colleague Marama Davidson’s bill has been drawn. It is inspired by the work of former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd, who unsuccessfully tried to establish a Māori ward in his district and has a petition before Parliament calling for this change,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“We’re really proud to be working with Andrew on this, and that he endorsed the Bill when Marama entered it into the ballot.

“This discriminatory provision in our electoral law sets a double standard that works to limit Māori representation at local government level throughout the country. Removing it is the right thing to do.

“Ensuring that the process for establishing Māori wards is fair and equitable is the very least we can do to ensure better Māori representation in local government. Our people need to have a voice in the decisions that affect us.

“The Green Party has a proud history of standing up to honour Te Tiriti and as a voice for Māori. We have been tireless in our advocacy for Māori rights and this is a continuation of that,” said Mrs Turei.