For the first time ever, the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council will be deciding in November 2023 whether to introduce Māori wards for the 2025 local elections.
Before deciding, council is seeking to hear and consider views and preferences of Māori and wider Central Hawke’s Bay public. To that extent, the council is holding drop-in sessions for the public on October 8, 15th, and 16th.
Māori hold a unique position as Mana Whenua of Tamatea Central Hawke’s Bay. There are nine marae across Tamatea and 21 iwi/hapū.
For the first time, Mana Whenua of Tamatea Central Hawke’s Bay, via representatives on Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea, have requested the council consider Māori wards as part of partnership, rangatiratanga and representation in this rohe (district).
The council has legislative responsibility for this under the Local Government Act 2002, Resource Management Act, new Spatial Planning Act, Natural and Built Environment Acts 2023, and Treaty Settlement legislation of Heretaunga Tamatea.
CHBDC currently has two wards – the rural Aramoana/Ruahine ward and the urban Ruataniwha ward.
The introduction of a Māori ward would have those on the Māori electoral role no longer voting for those general wards.
The number of Māori Councillors in the Māori ward(s) would be determined in the next step of council’s representation review planned for early 2024, based on a formula in the Local Electoral Act 2001.
Council is required to review its representation arrangements at least once every six years. The Local Electoral Act 2001 gives the council the ability to establish separate wards for Māori electors, and the review must include the decision whether to do this.
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