Far North electors have voted against establishing Maori wards for the 2016 and 2019 Far North District Council elections.
The council resolved last year to poll electors on whether dedicated seats for Maori should be provided at the council table. Voting documents were sent to 38,946 electors on the General and Maori Parliamentary electoral rolls in February, just over 35 per cent of them being returned. A strong majority, 68 per cent (9315 votes) were opposed, with 31.5 per cent (4309) in favour.
Mayor John Carter thanks those who had voted.
"We made a decision as a council to be guided by the community on this issue. The result does not diminish our commitment to improving our relationships with Maori, or involving them in our decision-making processes."
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The Council would now seek feedback from Maori about other non-electoral representation options.
"There are a number of options available, including the establishment of a Maori standing committee, representation on standing committees of council through to advisory board appointments. We will fully explore whichever options are preferable to Maori," Mr Carter added.
The council would also continue to korero with Maori about non-electoral engagement options such as developing strategic partnership agreements with iwi and hap, communicating more effectively with Te Kahu o Taonui (Tai Tokerau iwi chairs) and promoting more collaboration between the Northland Councils' Chief Executive Officers' Forum and the Iwi Chief Executives' Consortium.
"Council acknowledges the spirit and principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and the need for Maori to be involved in our decision-making," Mr Carter said. "We recognise that we are stronger as a district if we work together towards a shared vision, and wish to explore what the principles of partnership, participation and protection may mean for our collective future."