Waikato-Tainui are extremely disappointed following a resolution by the Hamilton City Council to not provide an option for Maaori wards at the next local body elections.
The resolution to provide for the creation of Maaori wards was lost 8-4 today and the Council has instead opted for a three-year conversation to consider it further.
Te Arataura Chair Linda Te Aho says local government decisions affect our everyday lives.
“This is a short-sighted decision driven by political expediency. The inclusion of Maaori in all levels of decision-making was an opportunity for Councils to be bold, to act honourably and in accordance with the provisions of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“We have been involved in this conversation for decades and it confirms our view that Maaori wards must become mandatory mechanisms on all councils.
“We acknowledge Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta’s swift action to remove legislative barriers to create Maaori wards, but this confirms our view that it needs to go further.
“It is disheartening that Hamilton City Council has failed to seize this opportunity to embrace diversity and inclusion for more robust and sustainable decision-making that reflects our community. Instead, the Council’s decision lacks courage and perpetuates a paradigm of exclusion.
The Council has just released He Manawa Pou Ora which is a framework that is said to be underpinned by the Treaty of Waitangi and sets a platform on its journey towards creating a more socially, economically, and environmentally diverse city.
“Today’s announcement renders this strategy an empty vessel.
“The previous Council set the bar by adopting Maangai Maori at committee level but in denying guaranteed representation for Maaori, this decision is a backward step and damages the relationship Waikato Tainui has worked hard to develop,” says Linda.
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