Petitioner confident of Maori wards poll

Richard McNair is among the many Western Bay residents seeking a public poll on the issue of Maori wards. Photo: Ryan Wood.

The contentious decision by Western Bay of Plenty district councillors to create one or more Maori wards has fired up residents, who want a public poll on the matter.

Among them is former Te Puke Community Board candidate Richard McNair, who’s been helping to organise a petition to gain the necessary signatures to force a public vote.

“I attended the meeting regarding Maori wards, and I thought it wasn’t right,” he says. “To me, democracy is one man, one vote. If you’re going to have Maori wards, you need to have Asian wards as well.

“Once you start, where does it finish?”

Richard has spoken to several people from Te Puke, as well as residents living in Katikati, Waihi Beach and Omokoroa, all of whom are keen to see a poll taken.

“I’d be surprised if we don’t get the required signatures very quickly.”

Kaimai ward councillor Margaret Murray-Benge, who voted against the decision to introduce Maori wards, says there’s been a ‘groundswell of support’ for a poll.

“I’ve always seen every man I’ve worked with as my equal,” she says.

“You have to do that when you’re working with the community – you can never see them as being different or inferior in any way.

“That’s why I could not vote for a system that separates us out – it’s apartheid.”

She says she feels ‘quite comfortable’ about the petition.

“I know there’s an enormous number of people ready to sign, and ready to take papers to get others to sign. So we will achieve the number required to trigger a poll.

“People should have a say on the subject – it’s an important one, and we do live in a democracy.”

If five per cent (1705) or more of the district’s electors demand a poll, the issue of Maori wards will be determined by a public poll.

A demand for a poll must be received by February 21, 2018 and a poll held by May 21, 2018. If there is no demand for a poll, the council’s decision is final.


A classic fail Peter

Posted on 13-12-2017 07:49 | By NZer

As I suspected you are telling a big fat lie. The treaty gives the same rights as every person in NZ nothing more or less....

NZer, your question was answered on 6-12-2017

Posted on 12-12-2017 21:47 | By Peter Dey

NZ was founded on tino rangatiratanga for Maori. The Treaty granted Maori tino rangatiratanga of their whenua, kainga and taonga. Governments wrongly over-ruled these rights. Now we are making compensation. Maori electoral wards would be an appropriate way of recognising that Maori have been treated unfairly by our political systems.


Posted on 12-12-2017 16:48 | By NZer

Please tell us the exact words or sentence in the treaty which give Maori more rights than a British citerzen.


Posted on 12-12-2017 07:13 | By NZer

If signing the treaty is like a marriage then like a marriage we can have a divorce so lets get rid of this treaty because it is being abused by the Peters of this world.....

Maori wards do not make Asian wards necessary

Posted on 07-12-2017 09:36 | By Peter Dey

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by Maori and the Crown. No Asians were involved. Maori wards are a means of giving Maori fair representation which they do not have under the present system. They do not make any change to the democratic one man one vote that Richard McNair wants. It does not lead to any other group having to be given separate wards. Only Maori signed the Treaty.

The Treaty of Waitangi is a partnership agreement

Posted on 06-12-2017 15:48 | By Peter Dey

The Treaty is a partnership agreement because it is an agreement between two parties, Maori and the Crown. Just like a marriage partnership the word partnership does not have to be used in the agreement. This is now part of our law. Non-Maori do not get to make their own law on this.

The Treaty is a partnership, and councils have a duty to respect that

Posted on 06-12-2017 15:29 | By Peter Dey

Although it has been only since about 1975, the Treaty is now part of our law, governments are required by law to honour the Treaty, and governments are required by law to consult with the Maori community and treat the Maori community as partners. Local councils should respect the reasons for this and treat Maori as partners with Maori electoral wards, which make no change to equal voting rights.

NZ was founded on tino rangatiratanga for Maori

Posted on 06-12-2017 14:00 | By Peter Dey

The Treaty of Waitangi gave Maori more than the same rights as British citizens. It gave Maori tino rangatiratanga of their whenua and taonga. Present day governments are compensating Maori for the failure to honour that right. Local councils like the Western bay council are doing the same with Maori wards, which take nothing from non-Maori voters. Maori deserve fair representation.


Posted on 05-12-2017 15:56 | By NZer

No is founded on Democrasy. majority rule. What part of that do you not understand?

Traditional human greed comes back to bite us

Posted on 05-12-2017 11:50 | By Papamoaner

Countries that were "colonised" - (a nice word for arrogant occupation and theft), mainly by "the mother country" ( an intrinsically arrogant title by the way), will always have these issues.Ask the American Indians about lying and cheating and widespread slaughter of the buffalo they depended upon for their survival. Look at how the Sioux in particular reacted to it and got called "savages" as a result. Now look at NZ - same story on a smaller scale. No scalping here. Aren’t we lucky! Good luck to those community leaders who would put things right. It’s an uphill struggle alright. Bigotry is not a good lubricant! Most of us pakeha are descendents of that old country where savagery was pioneered - beheadings, burnings at the stake etc, administered under official seal at the Tower.


Posted on 05-12-2017 07:53 | By Kiritiwa

Thank you for your comment, it always gets under my skin when people compare these things to apartheid and have no lived experience of the regime, so to hear you describe it from experience and how it is different to the establishment of Maori wards which as you say is about working together towards common aspirations (just that Maori have a different world view that might help to get us there) is very refreshing...thank you


Posted on 04-12-2017 17:04 | By jaydeegee

Having been born and bred in South Africa under the Apartheid regime, I can assure Margaret Murray-Benge and her cohorts that having Maori wards is nothing to do with, or like, Apartheid. In South Africa, the colonist Apartheid system legislated against the indigenous people having any say or power in the government of the country. Having Maori Wards actually encourages indigenous people to work with the colonists to ensure fair and just administration - which is true democracy. Get your facts right Margaret and company - stop the scare-mongering through ignorance.

@ Colleen Spiro

Posted on 04-12-2017 17:03 | By MISS ADVENTURE

After 177 years from the signing you obviously have forgotten who signed it, could I suggest you take up your concerns with the signatory, the queen. There is no one else here that signed the then agreement. No NZ Government representative, no one representing NZ, NZ did not exist officially at that time.

White brigade

Posted on 04-12-2017 16:58 | By Essay

Here we go again. The white brigade pushing their bs. Wonder how far you are going to exert your divisive supremist dialogue


Posted on 04-12-2017 16:37 | By Colleen Spiro

And, why is Pkeh NZ deciding what is best for Mori? Isn’t that all a bit white supremacist? Colonial? Imperalistic?

Don't need separatism here.

Posted on 04-12-2017 16:26 | By Paris

Bring on the pole, were all the same.

Coleen Spiro

Posted on 04-12-2017 16:18 | By NZer

The only discrace is you. People are allowed to have their own opinion, not just yours. Nz treats all cultures the same as per the treaty. The treaty assures Maori the same rights as British citerzens not special rights as people like Colleen would have you believe....

@ Colleen Spiro

Posted on 04-12-2017 16:16 | By Captain Sensible

Colleen thinks the Treaty gave maori special rights. Please quote that part of the Treaty for us Colleen. And also tell us why in your opinion, people with a teaspoon or more of maori blood deserve special privileges denied to the rest of the NZ people. Just tell us why you are better than me.

No Electorate Consultation

Posted on 04-12-2017 15:06 | By sobeit

It is a glaring indictment on Western Bay District Council that they didn’t consult with their ratepayers before attempting to foist this piece of apartheid on them. With 3 exceptions this Council is a dictatorship where the staff appear to be running the show and their sympathies certainly seem to be with Maoridom. Majority of Councillors and the Mayor voted accordingly. Timing is everything and having to collect 1705 signatures over Xmas doesn’t make the task simpler. But it will be done and this will be the first step in removing an undemocratic council and a prevailing staff culture at the next election.

Hobsons Pledge stuff

Posted on 04-12-2017 12:04 | By Colleen Spiro

Disgraceful behaviour...Margaret Murray Benge, if you do not support the Treaty RESIGN YOUR POST ON COUNCIL. WHAKARONGO

Public vote

Posted on 04-12-2017 11:08 | By MISS ADVENTURE

About time that happened, to many officials think that they know best, about time that got pushed back and some. The result of a vote will be 80%+ against separatist seats based on race/colour/ethinticity.

good luck Mr McNair

Posted on 04-12-2017 09:51 | By Captain Sensible

Good luck fighting the rampant institutionalised racism that is rife in NZ. Scorned in South Africa but welcomed in NZ. In a democracy, everyone is equal, but in a "NZ democracy" some are more equal than others! Shame on all Kiwis that try to justify such evil.

Pure and Simple

Posted on 04-12-2017 08:19 | By Merlin

Separatism.Pure and Simple.We are all New Zealanders.

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