Council Supports Māori Ward
A Wednesday night’s (11 November) extraordinary meeting, the South Taranaki District Council (STDC) decided to introduce a Māori Ward/s for the 2022 and 2025 local body elections.
South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon says the decision, which was unanimously supported by all Councillors, was about demonstrating leadership and simply doing the right thing.
“This decision is good for our community. As Tangata whenua, residents and ratepayers, Māori (who make up almost 20% of South Taranaki’s population) have been underrepresented at the Council table and disengaged from the electoral process for too long. This will encourage more Māori to participate in the governance of our District and will see Council be more representative of our whole community,” says Mayor Nixon. “Research clearly shows that diverse boards operating with high levels of trust are far more successful and effective than those that don’t. We will be stronger as we work together in partnership for the good of South Taranaki – which is ultimately what we are all here for.”
The current structure of Council will change with the inclusion of a Māori Ward/s though this detail will be worked through as the process develops. As an example under the Council’s current structure of 12 Councillors, the introduction of a Māori ward would mean that 10 Councillors would be elected from the general electoral population and two from the Māori electoral population, with the Mayor still being elected at large.
“The South Taranaki District Council has always been a leader and innovator – not just in what we do, but in the way we do things. I was extremely pleased with the robust discussion and persuasive arguments put forward with dignity and respect by both members of the public and Councillors. It demonstrated a maturity and self-confidence sadly lacking in many parts of society today and really made me very proud of the way our community works together.”