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Councils are required to decide every six years whether or not to institute Maori Seats. This means that in the next election, you could have the choice of voting for a Maori Seat candidate, or a general candidate.
WDC Councillors are currently seeking public opinion to find out whether the community would like to see dedicated Maori Seats. They must make a decision by November this year if it is to apply to the 2013 Local Government election.
The number of Maori Seats depends on the number of voters registered on the Maori Electoral Roll (MER). This would equate to two or three seats, depending on official figures, leaving three or four general seats, plus the Mayor.
Only voters on the MER can vote for Maori Seat candidates. Anyone of Maori descent can enrol on the MER, but those registered can only vote for Maori Seat candidates, not those standing for general seats. People on both the MER and General Roll can vote for Mayoral candidates.
Anyone can stand for a Maori Seat, but a candidate cannot stand for both general and Maori seats at the same time.
Once elected, Maori Seat holders have the same responsibilities as other councillors to represent the entire community.
To find out more, see document below, or contact WDC Chief Executive Peter Freeman or Maori Liaison Officer Ropata Ainsley on (06) 838 7309.
If you’d like to add your opinion, fill out the form below and return it to council by 12 noon on Tuesday, October 25. Councillors will make their decision at a meeting on Tuesday, November 8.
You will need to install the Adobe Reader program on your computer in order to read the document below. If you do not already have the Adobe Reader installed you can download it free from the Adobe website.