Whakatāne has voted against the proposed introduction of Māori wards for the 2019 and 2022 local government elections.
The final result of the binding poll was released today with just over 44 per cent of eligible voters participating.
6004 voters, or 55.43 per cent, voted against Māori wards while 4801, or 44.33 per cent, voted for.
The option of Māori wards was developed by Parliament as a way to enhance the role of Māori in local government. One of the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002 is to facilitate participation by Māori in local authority decision-making processes.
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In a 2007 referendum in the Whakatāne District, 70 per cent of participating voters voted against the introduction of Māori wards.