Waitakere City’s deputy mayor says the Government has let a “once in decades” opportunity slide by in opting not to include Maori seats on the new Auckland Council.
Penny Hulse says that Waitakere City Council supported Maori representation on Auckland Council but in its submission to the select committee it said the Government should decide how it could be implemented.
“I guess they have taken that decision. It was their call, but it is a huge disappointment that they have not been bold and visionary and given Maori a seat at the table,” she says.
“I personally think this is a missed opportunity that will not come around again for a long, long time.
“Waitakere has built strong partnerships with Maori. If the super city is to thrive then it needs to continue those special relationships.”
A recent poll of 400 Waitakere residents showed a close split of 42% in favour and 44% opposed to separate mäori representation.
“I think that demonstrates that it was not a particularly contentious political issue. This decision has been made by the Government based on ideology rather than weighing up the true pros and cons. That is very disappointing,” she says.
Mrs Hulse adds that Rodney Hide’s recent pronouncement that he would resign if Maori seats were proposed by the Government “must have” played a part in the decision.
“It is strange when a minor party with less than one percent public support can hold not only this region, but the Government, to ransom,” she says.
“This may be a decision that the Government comes to regret.”