Large maori contingent to voice claim for seats

By Yvonne Tahana

Many Auckland Maori are expected to voice concern at the Government's decision not to include Maori seats on the proposed Auckland super council.

Parliament's Auckland governance legislation select committee is hearing submissions on the Auckland Super City proposal. A subcommittee will look into the issue of Maori wards at Orakei, Te Puea and Hoani Waititi marae, from Wednesday to Friday.

National Party MP Tau Henare is chairing it and is expecting many of the submissions to be heated.

"Most definitely, I think people are coming along to have their say. It should be all on for young and old."

Ngati Whatua and Tainui are advocating Maori representation based on their mana whenua status - that each has a right to be at the decision-making table based on occupation of the region. They want two mana whenua seats voted for by those on the Maori roll.

That differs from the Royal Commission's recommendations which ascribed a smaller weight to iwi by suggesting tribes appoint one member, with two other Maori seats voted for by those on the Maori roll.

Urban Maori organisations such as Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust have supported both iwi during the debate. However, whether it decides to push for greater recognition of its constituents during this process remains to be seen.

Tainui are also concerned about what impact changes to boundaries could have on the implementation of their Waikato River settlement.

- NZ Herald

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