At a meeting on 19 May 2021 the Council resolved to not establish a Māori Ward for the 2022 triennial election but to continue to engage with Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura as Papatipu Rūnanga and the wider community regarding the possibility of establishing a Māori ward as part of the next scheduled representation review to be completed for the 2025 triennial election.
In 2018 the Council unanimously voted to establish a Māori Ward in the 2019 election. A subsequent public poll triggered by a petition signed by 5% of the electors of the district, resulted in that decision being revoked. The outcome of the public poll was binding on the Council for the next two local elections (until 2025).
The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act was passed by Government under urgency in March 2021. Amongst other things the Act establishes a transition period ending on 21 May 2021 in which any Local Authority may, regardless of any previous decisions or previous poll outcomes resolve to establish Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies for the 2022 local elections. This means that the 2018 poll ceased to have any effect.
Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura acknowledged the Council for considering Māori wards and for being the only District Council that has approached and worked with them with regard to Māori wards.
The Council will continue to work in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, and with local Māori (mana whenau and maata waka) to investigate other opportunities of greater inclusion in council decision making for all Māori in the district. A report on this will be presented to the Council in three months time.
The Council is working alongside Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura as Papatipu Rūnanga that hold mana whenua for the Kaikōura takiwā to discuss the options. The Council has sought submissions, input and views from the wider community in order to be able to make an informed decision by the 21st May deadline. Community submissions closed on 18 April 2021, 8 were opposed and one suggested the seat be held by Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura.
10 June 2021