Te Pāti Māori Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is today celebrating the announcement that the Government will be
introducing legislation to remove the racist provision in the Local Electoral Act that enables referendum on local Māori
The Act allows for local council decisions to establish Māori wards to be challenged with a referendum if 5% of the
local electors petition for it. The provision, which has been denounced by mana whenua and local politicians around the
country, is racist and discriminatory in that in doesn’t allow the same to happen for other wards.
“I’m stoked that we will be getting rid of this racist provision in our electoral laws. Today’s announcement is a huge
win for all of us who have stood up against racism and who have fought for Māori wards in local government,” said Mrs
“This announcement is long overdue – successive governments have failed to act and have enabled this racist law that
oppresses us as tangata whenua and our right to have say in decisions that affect us.
“This law has been used by racist organisations such as Hobson’s Pledge to undermine Māori rights and prevent Māori from
having a say in local government decisions.
“Te Pāti Māori acknowledge Andrew Judd and all the other local politicians and mana whenua leaders who have led the
campaign in support of Māori wards and against this racist law. I’m in awe of all who stand shoulder to shoulder to
fight against racism.
“The United Nations has highlighted Aotearoa’s extremely poor Māori representation in local government. Removing this
provision will go a long way in improving that record.
“While the Government can and should stop racist legislation, they can’t stop racism - everyone has a duty to stand up
and say no to racism,” Mrs Ngarewa-Packer said.