26 Apr 2012

Maori representation on local councils urged

7:52 am on 26 April 2012

The Race Relations Commissioner says he hopes the constitutional review panel will recognise the importance of Maori representation on local councils.

The panel will consult the public on a range of questions from the size of Parliament to the role of the Treaty of Waitangi and whether New Zealand should have a written constitution.

Commissioner Joris de Bres says having separate Maori representation has worked very well at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and this should be a guide to the panel.

He believes the option should be available to Maori if they want it and not be subject to a vote by all people in an area.

Mr de Bres says the Maori representation on local councils is about 5%.