15 Aug 2012

Tai Tokerau eye seats at council table

8:14 am on 15 August 2012

Tai Tokerau iwi leaders are backing a drive for local government reform in the Far North - including an offer of seats at the council table.

Far North mayor Wayne Brown has relaunched a campaign for two unitary authorities in the region and the abolition of the regional council which regulates environmental issues.

He says councils should be partners with Maori and he's offered them three seats on a new-look unitary body.

Iwi leaders' spokesman Rangitane Marsden says that's the way it should be.

He says the northern iwi will have nearly half a billion dollars to invest once they've settled their treaty claims - and they can bring both physical assets and useful relationships with crown agencies to the council table.

Mr Marsden says Maori want to be part of an economic turnaround in the north which will benefit everyone, not just iwi.

He says new legislation will leave iwi in a position to pick up some of the social functions that councils are being told to shed, and iwi will be looking for ways to improve health, education and employment levels in Tai Tokerau.

He says a true partnership at local government level could be put into practice some of the hopes and dreams for which Maori signed up in 1840.