Government trying to rush Māori wards legislation through without public say

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party unequivocally condemns the governing parties’ attempts to limit the public’s say on the controversial Māori wards legislation, after the select committee considering the legislation set a deadline for submissions of just five days.

“This is a blatant attempt at doing democracy in the dark by shutting the public out from having its say on the incredibly controversial Māori wards legislation,” says Green Party spokesperson for Māori development Hūhana Lyndon.

“Five days. That is the amount of time this Government has given people to have their say on legislation that would see Māori wards for councils rolled back and decades of progress unwound. Six weeks is the usual minimum submissions period, local government and Māori communities are being given five days.

“I am calling on our communities to stand up and let their voices be heard when it comes to this Government’s plans to deprive Māori of the democracy and representation they deserve.

“I am also calling on National, Act, and NZ First to do the democratic thing and extend the submissions period.

“Māori wards were created to help provide equitable representation in local government, and the aim of this legislation is to make establishing Māori wards harder than it is to establish general council wards.

“In this respect, communities have told us Māori wards work well in ensuring the unique voices and needs of Māori are represented and acknowledged in decision-making processes.

“Generations of loss, trauma and a betrayal of the tino rangatiratanga promised in Te Tiriti have contributed to cycles of pain across generations. Providing Māori with the representation they deserve in local government, and the representation that was promised to them, would begin to rectify the wrongs of our past and build the future we know we deserve.

“The people have a voice and it is on the Government to hear it,” says Hūhana Lyndon.

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