Kāpiti Coast District Council confirms earlier decision on Maori ward
Guided by the recommendation of its iwi partners, Councillors today confirmed their October 2020 resolution not to establish a Māori ward for electoral purposes ahead of the 2022 local body elections.
Mayor K. Gurunathan said Council had a well-established 25-year history of being guided by its iwi partners, Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, as mana whenua of the Kāpiti Coast District.
Council consulted with each of its iwi partners on the implications of the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021, which provided local authorities with a fresh opportunity to consider whether to establish a Māori ward. The Amendment Act removed the ability for electors and for Council to effect a binding poll in relation to a decision to establish a Māori ward or constituency.
“Our iwi partners confirmed that while Māori ward representation on Council is important to them, their current priority is to strengthen their existing partnership with Council.
“Our partners are keen to carry on discussions about a Māori ward over the next triennium,” said Mayor Gurunathan.
Councillors expressed their support for the views of mana whenua on this important question of Māori representation and reiterated their commitment to working together to continue to strengthen the partnership.
Council is currently undertaking a review of the future shape of representative democracy for the District. The first stage of the review involved preliminary engagement with the community to look at what communities of interest exist in Kāpiti and how these could be represented to ensure fair and effective representation. Options on the shape and number of wards, and the number of elected members will now be developed for Council’s consideration. Council will consult the community on a preferred option in September.