Council made this decision on 7 April 2021 under the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021, which removed the previous binding poll provision.
The option of Māori wards was developed by parliament to enhance the role of Māori in local government. One of the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002 is to facilitate participation by Māori in local authority decision-making processes.
Those on the Māori electoral roll will vote for candidates who stand in the Palmerston North Māori ward or wards in 2022 and 2025 elections.
Palmerston North City Council is benefiting from the contributions of Rangitāne at committee, as appointed members bring knowledge and expertise in tikanga Māori. Since 2020, Council has had Rangitāne o Manawatū representatives appointed to four formal Council committees:
- Rangitāne o Manawatū
- Community Development
- Economic Development
- Environmental Sustainability.
Appointed members have full voting rights at committee however, as appointed rather than elected members, they do not sit at full Council. The partnership agreement recognises Rangitāne as mana whenua and the mutual aspiration to work collaboratively as partners. It sits alongside Māori wards.
A representation review will be held and open for consultation in August 2021. A representation review will not look at Māori wards but rather how the establishment of Māori wards affects other representation arrangements.