13 Feb 2015

Mayor calls for acceptance of Maori representation

10:24 am on 13 February 2015

The New Plymouth mayor is calling on locals to work together peacefully with tangata whenua over a referendum to introduce a designated seat for Maori at next year's local body elections.

The district council's decision to introduce a Maori ward in 2016 met with opposition when the vote was passed in September last year.

Councillor John McLeod resigned in protest when it was narrowly accepted by 7 votes to 6.

The city's former Greypower president, Hugh Johnson, today gave the mayor a petition with more than 4,000 signatures calling for a poll on the Maori ward initiative.

He needed 2,700 signatures, or 5 per cent of eligible voters, to spark a binding referendum.

In a speech yesterday, New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd, asked that non-Maori be welcoming to having Maori representation at the council:

"In 1881 the people of Parihaka did exactly that when they welcomed the armed constabulary on to their marae.

"The hand of friendship must continue to prevail in our region.

"He kororia ki te runga rawa, he maungarongo ki te whenua, he whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa - ahakoa ko wai, kia ora"

Which translated means; "Glory to the Supreme Being, peace on earth, and goodwill to human-kind - no matter who, kia ora."

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