KIN can reveal a Kāpiti Council move to give unelected iwi representatives voting rights on some KCDC committees — and full remuneration – an extra $145,000 — is being called ‘premature’.
The plan looks certain to ignite a major debate in Kāpiti, and perhaps further afield.
Some local politicians are worried that retiring Mayor K Gurunathan is railroading the move as part of his ‘magnum opus.’
The proposal goes before councillors at special meeting on Tuesday.
It would give representatives of Kāpiti’s three iwi voting rights on council committees, and speaking rights at the full Council, (the law says only the Mayor and the 10 councillors can vote at full council level).
KIN understands at least two councillors, and a community board member, have already expressed their concern at the timing of the move.
Who would select the Iwi reps?
One local politician says that incoming councillors should be able to organise their own governance model after the October elections. There’s also concern at exactly who would select the iwi councillors.
The June meeting is described as “railroading the proposal” and a “magnum opus” for retiring mayor Gurunathan.
The proposal is a result of Te Atiawa ki Rongotai Charitable Trust’s review of its partnership with the KCDC.
Five years ago Te Atiawa formally withdrew from the council’s independent body Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti.
Although the district’s other two iwi– Ngati Toa Rangitira and Nga Hapu o Ōtaki — have not withdrawn, the forum is no longer representatives of all mana whenua.
Previous vote against Maori ward
Last year in its representation review, the KCDC accepted the Iwi submission that having Māori wards at present was not a priority..
The proposal before councillors on Tuesday would enable iwi representatives to attend and vote at the KCDC’s Strategy and Operations Committee, its Appeals Hearing committee and the Allocations subcommittee.
Each iwi would receive an annual fee of about $45,000, equivalent to the remuneration paid to a district councillor. The all-up extra cost of the three iwi representatives would be $145,000.
It would bring the numbers voting at the Strategy and Operations Committee from 12 to 14, add a extra vote at the Audit committee — eight to nine — while the Grants Allocation Committee would go from four members to seven- the extra three people would be iwi reps.
In each case, the iwi representative would be nominated by Mana Whenua.