A petition for a poll on the proposal to set up Maori wards in the Western Bay of Plenty District has been launched.
Western Bay of Plenty district councillors voted 9-3 on November 21 to create Maori wards in the area.
This followed a unanimous decision by the council's Tauranga Moana/Te Arawa ki Takutai Partnership Forum on November 10 that there should be representation through the creation of Maori seats for the 2019 and 2022 elections.
Lead petitioner Richard McNair says he believes Maori wards are not necessary for council decisions, which are mainly to do with roads, clean drinking water, sewage, drainage, libraries, sports facilities and cultural centres, all of which are for the benefit of everyone irrespective of ethnicity.
"This is an important issue. Residents and ratepayers in those four areas are entitled to have a say in such a radical shift in representation arrangements.”
A total of 1705 signatures must be delivered to Western Bay of Plenty District Council by 5pm on February 21, 2018, to trigger a poll which would then be held between February and May of 2018.
Those who wish to sign the petition and/or help collecting signatures should contact Richard on 0274749812 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A round of representation reviews this year required under the Local Electoral Act 2001 means that the Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, and Manawatu district councils, as well as the Palmerston North City Council, have all decided to proceed with such wards.