|UPDATE 27 April 2021: Council confirms decision to introduce Māori wards|
|Taupō District Council has today confirmed its decision to introduce Māori wards for the 2022 and 2025 local body elections. Read the full update|
In November 2020 Council decided to establish Māori wards for the 2022 local government elections. Recent changes to the Local Electoral Act mean Council now has more time to engage with the community about their views on the establishment of Māori wards.
The Council decided at its meeting on March 9 2021 to “to engage with the community to seek their views and opinions on the establishment of Māori wards for the 2022 local government elections while resolution TDC202011/09 remains.” Council had previously decided to establish Māori wards at its November 2020 meeting.
Once Council has received community feedback it will decide whether to reconfirm its decision to establish Māori wards.
Feedback on the establishment of Māori wards closed at 4.30pm on Tuesday, April 6 2021.
Thank you for the feedback received.
Many councils across New Zealand elect representatives based on wards. This is to reflect the main communities of interest in the district that need a seat at a council table to effectively represent the whole district.
Māori wards are based on the same principle and function in the same way, but rather than using a geographic boundary, the voters in a Māori ward are identified by their choice of electoral roll. Those on the Māori roll can only vote for candidates standing in the Māori wards as this reflects that particular community of interest – just as voters in a particular general ward can only vote for the candidate(s) standing in that ward. However, all electors can vote for the Mayor regardless of ward arrangements.
The ability to have Māori wards has been developed to enable Māori participation in local government decision-making. Council must, under the Local Government Act, Resource Management Act and Local Electoral Act, provide opportunities for Māori to contribute to local government decision-making processes. These provisions underpin the wider partnership principles contained in Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi.
In November 2020, Taupō District Council decided to establish Māori wards for the 2022 local government elections.
Recent changes to the Local Electoral Act removed the ability to hold binding polls and provided a transition period, until 21 May 2021, for councils to consider or reconsider establishing Māori wards for the 2022 local elections.
This means Council now has more time to engage with the community about its views on the establishment of Māori wards. This feedback will be considered by the Council at its April 27 2021 meeting.
If Māori wards are established, a representation review will be undertaken which the community will be consulted on, to determine the electoral arrangements, including the names and geographic boundaries of the Māori wards, for the 2022 election. This will mean the community will be able to provide feedback on the names and geographic boundaries of the Māori wards.
To stand for election for a Maori ward in a local body election a person must be:
- eligible to stand for election; and
- nominated by two electors on the Māori electoral roll within the ward where they are standing.
Candidates that stand for election in Māori wards do not have to be of Māori descent.
Once elected, Māori ward elected members do not only represent Māori. All councillors, regardless of which ward they are elected from, including Māori wards, ultimately govern in the interest of the Taupō District as a whole.
The number of Māori ward councillors is determined using a formula, outlined in the legislation, that relates to the ratio of the Māori electoral population to the total electoral population and the total number of elected members for the district. When the formula is applied for the Taupō District, it equates to two Māori ward councillors.