Community & Environment

Council approves proposal for Maaori representation

An aerial view of the central city and Waikato River

Hamilton City Council has today approved a proposal to appoint five Maaori representatives to four of the Council’s committees.

Mayor Andrew King says he is confident the proposal provides both a practical and meaningful opportunity for Maaori to contribute to the Council’s decision-making.

“We have great relationships already with our Maaori stakeholders and I’m looking forward to strengthening these even further,” Mayor Andrew says.

“Today’s decision is not just about honouring the Council’s legal obligations, but about doing the right thing. There are many issues the Council committees make decisions about that would benefit immensely from a Maaori perspective.”

“Maaori make up 22% of the population of Hamilton and this is set to increase to 30% by 2038. Their contribution to the city cannot be understated, socially, economically and in terms of their important role in the stewardship of our environment.”

The proposal approved by  the Council today is the culmination of a robust process spanning more than a year and involving Iwi, mana whenua and maatawaaka at every step.

“Today’s decision is not just about honouring the Council’s legal obligations, but about doing the right thing. There are many issues the Council committees make decisions about that would benefit immensely from a Maaori perspective.”

Mayor Andrew says: “We recognise this is a matter of high public interest. From a governance perspective we are clear this is the direction in which we need to head, and it puts us in good stead to meet the future needs of our communities.”

The proposal approved today has the support of the key groups that represent Maaori in Hamilton, namely Waikato-Tainui, Mana Whenua and Te Rununga o Kirikiriroa (TROK) who are committed to making it successful for the benefit of the entire city and its residents.

Mayor Andrew says he is confident working in partnership with Maaori stakeholders will ensure excellent candidates who can make a valuable contribution to decision-making on the Council’s committees.

Mayor Andrew says: “We’re not alone in establishing participation opportunities for Maaori – councils up and down Aotearoa have been working on ways to strengthen how Maaori are represented and involved in decision-making, through a variety of means.”

“There are some great examples of how this is working well, but what we have learned is every part of New Zealand is unique and needs a bespoke system that’s right for them.”

The next step is for the Council staff to finalise the agreements outlining how they will work with Maaori going forward.  The aim is to have Maaori representatives appointed to committees by October 2018.

Today’s proposal was adopted through a formal resolution, by six to four, with three councillors absent.

Voted for the resolution: Councillors Paula Southgate, Angela O’Leary, Dave  Macpherson, Ryan Hamilton, Geoff Taylor and Mayor Andrew King.

Voted against the resolution: Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher, Councillors Garry Mallet, Mark Bunting, and Leo Tooman

Absent: Councillors Siggi Henry, James Casson, and Rob Pascoe

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