14 Dec 2011

Legal opinion to be considered on Maori ward

6:31 am on 14 December 2011

Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio says the council's intention to create a Maori ward for the city is up for discussion again on Thursday, when councillors consider an independent legal opinion on the issue.

The council's decision last month to have a separate ward in time for the 2013 elections, has been controversial.

A lawyer is challenging its validity and more than 1200 people have signed a petition which could force a ratepayer poll.

Mr Miccio says the independent legal opinion largely backs the council's decision.

But he says the plan may not go ahead, if the Local Government Commission recommends a referendum next year, on merging Nelson City Council with the Tasman district.

The referendum would be held by early May, with an election for a combined council six months later.