Jan. 12, 2021, 10:39 a.m.
On the 3rd of November 2020 Whangarei District Councillors voted 8 to 6 in favour of Māori Wards for the 2022 and 2025 local government elections.
Whangarei was the last Council vote on Māori Wards in Te Tatokerau with Kaipara and Northland Regional Council also voting in support, whilst The Far North District Council voting against having Maori Wards.
Māori electorates have been a feature of New Zealand political landscape for more than 150 years, only 3 of New Zealand's 78 local authorities currently have Māori Wards.
The Local Government Act requires local bodies to review their representation every 6 years and to acknowledge their Treaty obligations by considering Maori Wards.
The local Electoral Act allows such a move to be challenged if a poll is demanded by just 5 percent of registered voters. This isn't a requirement for General Council Wards.
The Mayor of Whangarei Sheryl Mai and 2 councillors that voted yes explain their thinking behind their vote and why they think it's time for Maori Wards.
The Mayor Sheryl Mai said "The winds of change are blowing. Let's have the courage to trim our sails, maximise the strong change in the wind and point our waka toward a united future".