Waikato District Council retain status quo of not having Māori wardsWaikato District Council retain status quo of not having Māori wards

November 16, 2017

Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson said council does not have the mandate to change the democratic process.

Māori wards will remain non-existent within the Waikato District Council. The recommendation to retain the status quo was passed 10-2 at November's council meeting.
Those who voted in favour were councillors Jacqui Church, Dynes Fulton, Stephanie Henderson, Shelley Lynch, Rob McGuire, Frank McInally, Eugene Patterson, Jan Sedgwick, Noel Smith and Mayor Allan Sanson. Those who voted against were councillors Aksel Bech and Lisa Thomson. Councillors Bronwyn Main and Janet Gibb were absent.
Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson strongly believed councillors didn't have the mandate to change the democratic process.
"To achieve a mandate you actually need to canvas your community," Sanson said. "None of us [councillors] have the right to make that decision."It's a community decision. The community needs to give us the mandate to change representation. It's not up to 14 politicians."
Sanson said his reasoning came from a discussion he had the other day. "I barely got out of the car before I had three farmers standing beside me asking a whole raft of questions, but one of them said to me, and if I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times, we don't listen to our community.
"What that said to me is if we listen to our community, as we did last time, the community told us that 82 per cent didn't want to change the status quo and I don't think that has changed immensely. If it had the community would be actually telling us what they want."
Sanson said he would be the first person to welcome Māori representatives if it's what the community wants. "As you all know I hold democracy dear to my heart, but I just think we are in here to represent 70,000 people, so let them tell us what they actually want."
The discussion was driven by a statutory requirement that every six years, all councils must review how their city or district would be best and most fairly represented. Council can resolve at any time on Māori representation, but a decision was required by November 23 2017 to take effect for the 2019 triennial election.
Council will now issue a public notice outlining its decision, which will also give those on the electoral roll the opportunity to demand a poll. The result of this poll would be binding.

website here © 2017 Fairfax New Zealand Limited

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