15 Apr 2009

City-wide hikoi planned in protest over supercity seats

8:40 pm on 15 April 2009

Auckland Maori are planning a hikoi in protest at the Government's decision not to have Maori seats on the proposed supercity council.

To be held on 25 May, the 31st anniversary of the end of the Bastion Point occupation in 1978, the hikoi will take the form of marches beginning at four different parts of Auckland - including Bastion Point - and converging on Queen St.

The plan came out of a hui of more than 300 people, including Maori political leaders and Auckland tribal leaders, at Orakei marae on Wednesday.

The hui was called after the Government rejected the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance that three Maori seats should be guaranteed on a new combined council for the region.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei Trust chairman Grant Hawke says the hui was united against the Government on this point. The idea of an council iwi advisory board is not good enough, he says, as such boards have no influence.

Take the day off, Harawira urges Maori

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has called on all Auckland Maori to take the day off work on 25 May and join the hikoi.

He says the protest alone is not enough, however, and Maori leaders must work at all levels to bring change. The hui called on the Maori Party to work hard to lobby the Government to change its mind about the three seats.

Mayors agreed on agenda for Hide meeting

Meanwhile, Auckland's mayors have agreed on the issues they'd like to discuss with Local Government Minister Rodney Hide on Thursday, when they meet to consider the supercity plans.

Rodney mayor Penny Webster, who chairs the mayoral forum, says everyone recognises the need to work together for Auckland.

Manukau mayor Len Brown and North Shore mayor Andrew Williams say the meeting was positive, with consensus on a number of points.