A binding poll will be held to establish whether Maori wards will be introduced to Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

The council announced today the poll will determine if Maori wards will be included in the next two elections in 2019 and 2022.

The poll was prompted after Western Bay councillors voted to establish one or more Maori wards. An independent petition was subsequently created and was eventually confirmed as valid yesterday. Read more about that here.

The referendum on Maori wards is expected to cost ratepayers $70,000.


At least 4100 signatures were collected, passing the threshold of 1708 signatures needed to force the council to hold a binding referendum on Maori wards. The district is currently split into three general wards.

Te Puke's Richard McNair who led the petition said a random check of signatures showed there were at least 2532 eligible voters - people who were registered to vote in the Western Bay District Council area.

The poll will be held on May 19 and will be conducted under the provisions of the Local Electoral Act 2001 by the council's electoral officer.

Poll timetable:
February 23 - public notice of poll
From April 27 - Voting documents posted to electors
April 27 to noon May 19 - Progressive roll security/special voting period/early processing
Noon May 19 - Polling closes
May 21 - Official declaration of results
May 23 - Public notice of results