Māori wards: you tell us

Hazel Barnes

Waipā District councillors are considering reducing their numbers –  and after largely shutting up shop on their opinion of Māori wards, backed a plan to go to the public on the issue yesterday.

But one broke ranks, calling a proposed Māori ward consultation process a waste of time.

Pro-Māori ward councillor Hazel Barnes told fellow councillors at a Strategic Planning and Policy Committee meeting on Tuesday “we are going out to consult the whole community… well we actually know what the outcome that’s going to be”.

Councillors supported circulating a consultation document which discusses Māori wards and invites feedback.

The News has been unable to find any Māori who has been elected to the Waipā District Council since it was established in 1989.

Councillors told Cllr Barnes it would be presumptuous to suggest the outcome of consultation was a foregone conclusion.

Chief executive Gary Dyet said the council had a targeted program of consultation with iwi and the council already had a good body of knowledge of iwi and manawhenua thoughts on the issue.

The meeting also revealed there has been “informal” discussions between staff and councillors on reducing the number of district councils from the present 14.

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