In May, Andrew Judd announced he wouldn’t be standing for reelection as Mayor of New Plymouth. Mike Hosking caused a media storm by suggesting that if Maori wanted representation they should stand for Council; revealing his complete ignorance about the Treaty responsibilities of Local Authorities.
In June Andrew led a hikoi from New Plymouth to Parihaka to start a conversation about our treaty obligations as a nation. This was great to see, and had a lot in common with our own Talk Treaty project which got prominent Kiwis talking about the Treaty.
We thought we’d give Andrew the opportunity to tell the story of how he came to back a Maori ward in New Plymouth in his own words. He explains how he stumbled across the shocking truths of New Zealand history. When his Council reviewed Maori representation and consultation – all Councils must do this periodically – he realised that under the Treaty Maori had to have a voice in Council decisions. He initially explored having iwi appointed members on Council committees, an idea that was rejected by the Council, before proposing a Maori ward.
This story of a local politician trying to do the right thing reinforces the need for greater guidance and tools from central government on how local authorities can honour their Treaty obligations. At the moment they are being hung out to dry.