16 Apr 2009

Hide opposes special Maori seats on super-city council

3:20 pm on 16 April 2009

As Auckland Maori prepare to protest against plans for a super-city, Local Government Minister Rodney Hide says he is personally opposed to special Maori representation.

The Government has 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.

A hui of more than 300 people, including Maori political leaders and Auckland tribal leaders, at Orakei marae on Wednesday decided on a hikoi in protest.

Mr Hide says the Prime Minister has told him to work closely with the Maori Party to ensure a good outcome for Auckland and for Maori.

However he says there are many ethnic groups in Auckland, and while there is a special relationship with tangata whenua, he does not have the gloomy view that Maori cannot get elected to local council.

The minister says there will be a select committee process, and the Government will make the final decision.

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