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.