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Our council not afraid to tackle hard issues


Re: Most of us against racial segregation, Nov 24 letter.

Tena Koe Andy,

From Kapiti Coast, the creation of a strategy for Maori wards must appear quite surreal. Nevertheless, here at Gisborne District Council we have a management and governance structure that is not afraid to tackle the hard issues. Then there are the councillors in New Plymouth, Tauranga, the Northland Regional Council, Kaipara, Whangarei and Ruapehu who also boldly introduced Maori wards.

I trust Gisborne District Council will continue to interpret the Local Electoral Act 2001, and accordingly determine its legal responsibilities. Although, David Cull, the previous president of Local Government New Zealand, said questions were raised in the local government sector over the fact that when a geographical ward was proposed, it was only the people affected who were asked, whereas when a Maori ward was proposed, everyone was asked. Even those who were not affected.

It is in this climate of inequality that our councils must try to build integrity and foster trust within their communities. A situation made even more difficult when, according to the Act, a Pakeha majority can decide the level of representation for a Maori minority.

The Act creates segregation and fosters distrust, not councils. The Act must be changed and from my place on the East Coast, it’s time for the change.

Thelma Karaitiana

  1. Ken Ovenden says:

    Hi Thelma, GDC not afraid to tackle the hard issues? Get real. Public consultation was called for, demanded by councillor Akuhata-Brown, on the Endeavour replica issue. There was some consultation, the council took no notice, did the complete opposite of what the majority of submitters wanted, hid under their beds. The only honest councillor was the one who declared the rest “Mickey Mouse”. Now Maori wards, race-based. What are the council going to call the rest of us? We may end up with Maori wards and then “Other races’ wards” or “”Non-Maori Wards”. Get real. Those voted on to Maori wards cannot represent anyone else, as the rest had no right to vote in those wards. HELLO, now is that democratic? No, just a bloody mess.