Kāpiti Coast District Council is seeking the community’s views from tomorrow (12 September) on whether to establish a Māori ward ahead of the 2025 local elections. Feedback closes at 5pm Friday 13 October.
Mayor Janet Holborow said in 2020 Council, guided by mana whenua, resolved not to establish a Māori ward, but committed to reconsider the question this triennium.
“’Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti’ is a warm and productive partnership with our three local iwi. It’s been in place since 1994 which we understand makes it one of the longest-standing partnerships in the country between local government and mana whenua,” Mayor Holborow said.
“Establishing a Māori ward would not affect our partnership or how it operates but adds a further dimension.
“It’s important that we hear from mana whenua and the wider community ahead of making a decision on whether to make this change to our representation arrangements,” she said.
If councillors want to have a Māori ward in the 2025 local election, they must make a resolution by 23 November 2023. A decision to proceed would trigger a representation review next year. A representation review would look into all aspects of our district’s electoral arrangements, not just the Māori ward. This would involve formal consultation with our community next year.
The Electoral Act 2001 sets out a population-based formula that would currently allow for one Māori ward in Kāpiti.
Establishing a Māori ward has few direct or ongoing costs, Mayor Holborow said.
“Councillors pay comes from a ‘pool’ set by the Remuneration Authority which we decide how to distribute between the elected members.”
By law, a representation review must be held every six years. If Council decides to go ahead with establishing a Māori ward, it will just bring forward the next representation review which was scheduled for 2027 rather than incurring additional costs, she said.
Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, anyone (Māori or non-Māori) may stand for a Māori ward but only those on the Māori electoral roll may nominate or vote for the candidate.
“The establishment of a Māori ward would be particularly relevant for those who are on or planning to join the Māori electoral roll. If we establish a Māori ward, those on the Māori roll would only be able to vote for Māori ward candidates rather than candidates standing for general wards. But they can still vote for district-wide councillors, the mayor, their local community board members, and regional councillors.
Mayor Holborow said everyone was invited to have their say. She emphasised the feedback was not binding, nor was it a vote, but it would inform Council’s decision about whether to move ahead on establishing a Māori ward.
Have your say online by 5pm on Friday 13 October at haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt.nz/MaoriWard.
Alternatively, fill out the form you can download from the ‘have your say’ webpage or pick up from Council service centres or libraries, then:drop it at any of our Council service centres or libraries orpost it to: Māori ward feedback, Kāpiti Coast District Council, 175 Rimu Road, Paraparaumu 5032, oremail to firstname.lastname@example.org