Andrew Judd: How the Taranaki Maori ward debate began

Geoff SimmonsTreaty4 Comments

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.

Andrew Judd: How the Taranaki Maori ward debate began was last modified: August 17th, 2016 by Geoff Simmons
About the Author

Geoff Simmons

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Geoff Simmons is an economist working for the Morgan Foundation. Geoff has an Honours degree from Auckland University and over ten years experience working for NZ Treasury and as a manager in the UK civil service. Geoff has co-authored three books alongside Gareth.

4 Comments on “Andrew Judd: How the Taranaki Maori ward debate began”

  1. Interestingly our council (Rangitikei) has an iwi committee with representation from all of the many iwi and hapu across the district. They have they opportunity to discuss everything and feedback and make recommendations to council. This issue has been raised with them (Maori seat within council) and yet they were strongly in favour of status quo with the committee structure for a number of reasons. 1. No one person can adequately speak for all iwi/hapu. 2. They are able to engage in more relevant topics with strong support from council and staff within current structure 3. Proposed if anyone wanted to throw their hat in the ring they could, however reiterating they wouldn’t be in position to speak on behalf of all Iwi. Etc. It certainly wasn’t the response I expected, however it works for our district, and I’m certainly looking forward to this relationship strengthening.

  2. Great to get Andrew’s perspective / reasons. Still don’t agree with Maori wards as a concept but hey it’s a free country. Not sure why there are wards for city and rural either. I’d have thought wards should just be based on getting even numbers of people/voters.

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