Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Low number of submissions for introducing dedicated Māori seats to Auckland Council

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Councillor Alf Filipaina. Photo: Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Kim Meredith of Local Democracy Reporting

Veteran politician Alf Filipaina has high hopes Auckland Council will introduce dedicated Māori seats despite the low number of public submissions received so far.

As of last week less than 10,000 submissions had been received in contrast to earlier this year when Auckland Council’s annual budget attracted more than 40,000 public submissions.

Manukau ward councillor Filipaina has been a politician for more than 20 years starting out with the Manukau City Council before amalgamation brought about Auckland’s super city. He says previous governance boards in principle favoured the addition of Māori seats and the possibility of Māori wards. However public submissions have been low and overwhelmingly feedback shows low support for Māori representation through the introduction of additional seats and wards at the 2025 local elections.

“I think we’ve wasted about two years, in 2017 the majority of councillors in principle supported Māori wards, pending legislative change,” says Filipaina.

With the deadline for submissions closing in just under a week this Sunday on September 24; Filipaina is hopeful Māori and Pacific communities will make the effort to have their say. Communities from the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu and Ōtara-Papatoetoe local boards have the largest concentration of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

However, introducing change requires educating the public about the complexities involved, as Aucklanders are being asked about whether they support having Māori seats on the governance board and if so, providing preference for the type of model to implement a new structure.

Under current legislation the Governing Body can introduce the parliamentary model that would allow for one or two Māori seats. The Royal Commission model would require new legislation and would allow for two Māori seats with one Māori seat appointed by mana whenua. There was also a preference for the public to choose a different model altogether and meant further work would be needed to investigate its feasibility.

Filipaina says with his mother’s Far North roots in Awarua it was his wish (in what’s expected to be his last term with Auckland Council) to see greater Māori representation.

“I would really like to see this before I leave and for me it would work well using the parliamentary model as the legislation is already in place.”

Aucklanders have until September 24 to have their say​​ on the introduction of dedicated Māori seats.

Local democracy reporting

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