A resounding ‘no’ to Maori wards

Councillor Mike Lally says he found out a great deal about what people really thought of Maori wards through talking to them in the street. File photo.

Western Bay of Plenty electors have issued a firm ‘no’ to their council after the overwhelming majority voted against the notion of establishing Maori wards for the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

The final vote was 78 per cent against racial segregation and 22 per cent for, from a turnout of 40 per cent.

Councillor Mike Lally, who was among the minority of councillors to vote against the proposal to establish the racially-segregated wards in November 2017, says he believed the referendum would go the way it did, but did not expect such strong support for the ‘no’ camp.

“People were very unhappy with the way the council had dealt with the issue,” he says. “I think they were happy to have the opportunity to have a say.”

He says he found out a great deal about what the public thought through collecting signatures

“We discovered the councillors who voted in favour were hopelessly out of touch with what people thought. I heard a lot of criticism about councillors who voted for Maori wards.

“A number of Maori came to sign the petition and wanted nothing to do with Maori wards, which seemed to reinforce our argument that we were doing it right.”

Prior to the close of the poll on Saturday, councillors also voted in favour of supporting Horowhenua District Council’s remit to Local Government New Zealand’s AGM to review the Local Electoral Act in relation to Maori representation.

The remit supports LGNZ president Dave Cull’s request to the government to remove the ability for the public to force a poll on the issue of Maori wards, should their elected representatives decide to introduce them.

Mike says the council has made ‘a serious error in judgement’ in voting to support the remit on Thursday, before the poll result was finalised.

“They should have left it until Saturday night when we clearly knew whether people were for or against Maori wards.”

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber – who has been a vocal supporter of Maori wards – would not be drawn into further discussion on the issue when contacted by SunLive.

“We are following the due process that is set down in the electoral act.”

He also did not wish to provide comment on the support by himself and other elected members for Horowhenua District Council’s remit; nor did he wish to comment on whether he or the council had a particular vision for further ward rearrangements as part of the six-yearly representation review currently underway.

For facts and figures on Maori wards/constituencies, see this previous evidence-based article published by SunLive.

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30% of voters object, 70% either support or do not object to Maori wards

Posted on 23-05-2018 17:12 | By Peter Dey

40% of voters voted, and 78% of these were opposed to Maori wards, which is 30% overall opposition to Maori wards, not enough to justify all the irrational rhetoric going on here. Central government is required to find a way for Maori to be represented on the council, so they will either make Maori wards compulsory or introduce some other method. The Maori wards opposition vote was heavily influenced by misinformation so opposition will eventually fade like support for 1Law4All and Hobson’s Pledge.

maori wards

Posted on 23-05-2018 14:21 | By phoenix

NO NO NO. What part of that do some councilors NOT understand? Mayor ’I know better than anyone else’ Webber, has got to go. the sooner the better.

Good call Mike

Posted on 23-05-2018 13:55 | By MISS ADVENTURE

So now we need a motion to Council that all the Councillors who got it wrong will now pay the bill for the cost of the referendum so as ratepayers money isnt wasted. In addition thise councillors should unreservedly beg on bendy knees for forgiveness for being so stupid, wasteful, and in supporting aparthied ... knowingly wrong!


Posted on 23-05-2018 08:51 | By Captain Sensible

Congratulations to all the people that gave up their time to stop this apartheid creeping into NZ. As they say, it only takes a few good people to do nothing to allow evil to flourish.

But are they listening to the voter

Posted on 23-05-2018 08:02 | By NZer

Will Robin and Pete admit they are the only one that want this race based system? Can they both accept kiwis dont want this. The people have voted. Are you listening?

SORRY Councillors

Posted on 22-05-2018 20:30 | By The Caveman

Your racially-segregated wards have been voted DOWN, by the ratepayers that took the time to VOTE. The bottom line is it was a NO VOTE by those that took the time to vote. GET OVER IT and move on.

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