Hastings District Council will be undertaking a representation review as a result of having resolved to establish Maori Wards.
At an extraordinary meeting on May 18, Council decided to take up the opportunity to reconsider the matter following the government’s change to the Local Electoral Amendment Act, and the removal of the ability of electors to demand a binding poll on the matter.
Between April 23 and May 12 the community was consulted via print media and radio, on various social media channels, on the council website, through flyers sent to rural areas that may not be online or receive print newspapers, and hard copies and submission boxes made available at the council customer service centre, libraries, and the Flaxmere and Camberley Community Centres.
In addition, kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) visits, conversations, telephone calls, emails, social media posts and/or hui were conducted with a number of whānau, marae, and other entities across Heretaunga district.
In total, 2,089 responses were received with 76 per cent in support of establishing Māori Wards and 24 per cent against.
Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said that as a council it was the first opportunity to demonstrate true partnership as was the intention of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“This is setting the scene and putting the mechanisms in place for our future generations to work in harmony together and have equal voices at the table.
“I’m really proud that we have grasped this opportunity.”
Ngāti Kahungunu chair Ngahiwi Tomoana said the decision made him very proud to be living in Heretaunga on this day.
“This is great for iwi, hapu and all those who have passed on.”
The next step will now be to undertake a representation review, which includes determining the total number of councillors, whether all councillors are elected from wards or a mix of wards and at-large, and the names and boundaries of any wards.
This is a publically notified process with an initial proposal to go out for consultation by August 31 this year.
The deadline for the Local Government Commission to make a determination if any appeals or objections are received was April 11 next year.
31 May 2021
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