Kāpiti Councillors Vote ‘No’ To Maori Wards

Kapiti councillors have reaffirmed their earlier vote against Maori wards, reports Jeremy Smith.

And this week’s no vote was for the same reasons at the October 29 decision – advice from the  KCDC’s iwi partners.

The second vote on the issue came because of the representation review before the 2022 elections. 

The representation review is required by law.  

But this weeks’ vote is the result of the government’s 2021 Local Electorate Amendment Act, the one that stops people from petitioning to force a binding poll over maori wards.
It extended the deadline over setting up maori constituencies from November 23 last year until May 21 – two weeks time. 

So the council consulted each of its iwi partners, Nga Hapu o Otaki for Raukawa, Ngati Toa Rangitira and Ti Ati Awa Ki Whakarongotai.

All said they wanted no change for the moment, but they do want discussions after the 2022 local elections. Te Atiawa and Ngati Toa provided signed statements to confirm their advice.

All three, who form the A.R.T. confederation, said that they see themselves as mana whenua in their partnership with the Kapiti District council. They agree Maori wards do not represent a Treaty partnership.

Before the vote several councillors described themselves as uncomfortable with the situation.

But Mayor Gurunathan noted the importance of whakapapa and mana whenua in the council’s 25- 

year relationship with local iwi.

And councillor James Cootes, exercising his right of reply, said councillors should be ready “next time round”  ( after next year’s local elections) for talk about wards.

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