26 Jun 2017

New Plymouth moves on Māori representation impasse

8:49 pm on 26 June 2017

The New Plymouth council has taken a step towards involving Māori in its decision making.

Front of the building housing the New Plymouth District Council

Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Mayor Neil Holdom has used his statutory authority to create Te Huinga Taumatua, a new committee consisting of five councillors and five iwi leaders designed to guide council on issues affecting Māori.

The council today approved the committee's powers which include the ability to make decisions on the naming of roads and reserves, and to determine marae development grants.

Mr Holdom said he was looking forward to working more closely with Māori following the creation of the committee.

"These are wise heads, well respected in our community and I'm really looking forward to welcoming them to the chamber, and getting to work."

In 2014, an attempt to give Māori voting rights on standing committees was voted down, and a plan to adopt a Māori ward was thrown out in a citizens-initiated referendum in 2015.

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