31 May 2010

Mayoral candidates divided on Maori super-city seats

9:07 pm on 31 May 2010

Auckland's leading mayoral candidates are taking different stances over whether Maori should in the future have seats on the super-city council.

Eight local bodies are being merged into one council which comes into being on 1 November.

In policy released on Monday, John Banks calls for a paid Maori adviser in the mayoral office, but stops short of seeking reserved seats on the council itself.

Mr Banks says an adviser backed by all Auckland iwi would give Maori true and meaningful representation at the top level.

Mr Banks says while he is not pushing for Maori seats, he would not oppose the idea going to a referendum.

His main opponent, Len Brown, backs reserved Maori seats and would support the idea in the first review of representation on the council.

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance recommended that up to three Maori seats on the Auckland Council, but the Government rejected the idea.