LGNZ has reacted to my post on Maori wards. Their reply is below:
- LGNZ has no opinion on whether councils must produce Maori wards. Our position is that that matter should be wise for every council to produce in consultation with its community including iwi;
- LGNZ does think that the rule applying to the development of wards, community boards must be placed and positioned on a level playing field. Only the development of Maori wards is subject to a referendum possibility. Interestingly, it is not widely known that the present poll provisions can also be used to override a council’s conclusion not to set Maori wards or constituencies. In other words, the provision may just as easily be hauled to set wards contrary to the wishes of a council because it might to dis-establish them (see s.19ZB of the Local Electoral Act 2001);
- There are two approaches to find alignment. First Maori wards could be treated similarly to other wards etc.. This could entail a council selection together with the checks and balances of Local Government Commission supervision. As councils are elected to make decisions this could be the taste of all. LGC supervision is buttressed by the governmental accountability of members every 3 years in the triennial elections. The other approach is to expand the referendum alternative to the development of all types of wards and community boards. This would achieve the alignment objective but is likely to find much more referenda (which some might prefer because it is more of a direct democracy version e.g. Switzerland, compared to a representative democracy version). Obviously the costs of the option could be greater but both options achieve the desired alignment of process. The point we’re making is that the principles surrounding Maori wards are anomalous relative to the principles for producing all other agent arrangements;
- On consultation — LGNZ included this matter in our Election Manifesto issued July and was the focus of extensive debate in our July Conference. It was delivered to all political parties and each was asked to tackle the matters it included if they gave their respective speeches into our conference ( which they didn’t varying amounts ranging from not at all to orderly consideration). The preparation and sign-off of that manifesto was subject to extensive debate within our governance processes and moved by our Governance and Strategy Advisory Group and was formally adopted by the National Council of LGNZ before it was issued. After approval by National Council, the manifesto was delivered to all mayors, chairs and chief executives on 27 June 2017 nicely before the LGNZ Conference in the latter part of July (in which it was published formally). In addition, LGNZ made a submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee that coated, inter alia, the petition of Andrew Judd calling for its change to the principles regarding the institution of Maori Wards. That entry was accepted by LGNZ government in July 2017 (symbolizing the Manifesto policy) and was referred to at a waiver Instantly delivered to this LGNZ membership on 20 July 2017 (I will send you a copy if you would like). I accept that when someone hadn’t paid attention to this communications and work activity in the time then they might be under the belief that the policy is new. However as a matter of fact they would be incorrect. The issue has now come to the fore again because many councils now are facing referenda following choices to present a Maori ward;
That I disagree together with the opinion that Maori wards should be a decision for the Local Government Commission, as with other wards.
The decision to set up a Maori guard is an extremely significant decision. It is saying we wish to divide our Council and Republicans by ethnicity. This is extremely different to only deciding if you’ve got 12 or 14 wards and where the bounds are.
Therefore I think such a substantial decision should rest with the Republicans.