Broadcaster Willie Jackson has successfully challenged the selection process of an Auckland Maori board he sought to join - alongside his old talkback radio partner.

Mr Jackson mounted legal action in 2013 when he was not chosen as one of the Auckland Independent Maori Statutory Board's two mataawaka (urban) representatives.

His former RadioLive talkback co-host John Tamihere was chosen, as was Tony Kake - and it was his appointment that Mr Jackson sought a judicial review of.

Mr Tamihere's contract at RadioLive was not renewed after a controversial interview with a caller about the Roast Busters scandal.


The statutory board makes sure Auckland Council decisions take into account the views of Maori when it makes decisions and its Mataawaka members represent the at least 100,000 urban Auckland Maori who are not iwi-aligned.

Last year the High Court found the selection process was flawed and ordered the selection body for the board to stand Mr Kake aside, before holding a new election.
In September, the selection body, in action led by Tame Te Rangi, took the case to the Court of Appeal in Wellington.

But in a ruling just issued, the Court of Appeal dismissed this, agreeing that the selection process held in August 2013 was inadequate.

"As a consequence, the entire selection process was unlawful and the judge correctly set aside Mr Kake's appointment to the board. Our conclusion has obvious implications for Mr Tamihere since his appointment suffered from the same defect in that it was a consequence of an unlawful process," the Court of Appeal judgment says.

"However, we cannot set aside his appointment."

The Court of Appeal decided the board did not follow the legally required process of taking into account mataawaka views.

"It may rhetorically be asked, what is the rationale for mandating a process requiring mataawaka views to be taken into account if, ultimately, they are not?"

At the appeal hearing, Mr Te Rangi's lawyer Paul Majurey argued the selection process was adequate.

At a meeting on August 18, 2013, the 17 selectors present had their lunch break to review seven copies of a dossier about the eight candidates put forward to represent urban Maori.

The chair of the selection board decided it wasn't necessary for the merits of each candidate to be discussed publicly, the court heard.

Mr Majurey said much of the information in the dossier was in fact emailed out two days before the meeting and the decision-making process was robust and met necessary requirements.

"Significantly, not one member of the selection body at the time complained," he said.
"One would have expected that if they felt rushed they would have said something about it."

Mr Jackson's lawyer Te Kani Williams argued against that and said the selectors only had 30 minutes to read the 108 pages of information.