On 21 July, 2020, Councillors voted to establish a Māori Ward in the New Plymouth District for the 2022 elections. Council’s must review their makeup every six years and the consideration of a Māori Ward was part of this process.
Read the full report that Council considered.
Māori wards and constituencies (Government advice)
Information from the Department of Internal Affairs
Māori wards may be established for cities and districts and Māori constituencies may be established for regions. Similar to the Māori Parliamentary seats, these Māori wards and constituencies establish areas where only those on the Māori Parliamentary electoral roll vote for the representatives. They sit alongside the general wards and constituencies which also cover the whole city, district or region. Those voting in Māori wards and constituencies receive only the same number of votes as anyone else.
Māori wards and constituencies may be established through one of the following processes
- A council may resolve to establish Māori wards or constituencies. If so, a poll on the issue must be held if 5 percent of the electors of the city, district or region request it.
- A council may decide to hold a poll on whether or not there should be Māori wards or constituencies.
- A poll on whether there should be Māori wards or constituencies must be held if requested by a petition signed by 5 percent of the electors of the city, district or region.
The result of these polls are binding on the council for at least two elections.
More information about reviewing representation arrangements can be found on the Local Government Commission’s website.
Why is NPDC having a Māori ward?
NPDC has to review its representation mix every six years and this includes deciding if a Māori ward should be set up. Councillors voted 12-2 at the NPDC 21 July 2020 Full Council meeting to establish a Māori Ward at the next council elections in 2022.
What does a Māori ward mean?
It is a ward where electors on the Māori roll vote for a candidate from the Māori ward. Electors on the general roll vote for candidates from the general ward(s).
Were there any other options?
The recommendation was to consult the community about setting up the ward with four options presented but a motion to go ahead with the Māori ward without consultation was passed. More information is available in the full report that Council considered.
Can anything stop the creation of the ward?
The ward decision can be overturned if a petition signed by more than 5% of electors requests a poll be carried out under the Local Electoral Act 2001. This is known as a valid demand. The results of the poll are binding and can overturn the Council’s decision.
Has this happened before?
NPDC Councillors previously voted for a Māori ward in 2014. Following the decision, a petition was organised and a binding poll was held in 2015: 21,053 (83%) of people voted against, 4,285 (17%) voted for.
If a petition is lodged, when does it have to be in?
A petition can be lodged at any time. For a poll to be held in time to take effect for the 2022 elections, NPDC would need to receive a valid demand by 22 February 2021.
If a petition is received, when would a poll be held?
If a valid petition is received a poll must be held not later than 89 days after the electoral officer receives notice that the Council has received a valid demand.
5% of the population are needed for a petition – how many people is that?
This is 5% of electors enrolled as eligible to vote in the New Plymouth District at the previous council election. Currently that is 2,874 people.
If a petition is lodged, is it received by the Mayor or Full Council?
If a petition is lodged it must be delivered to the main office of the Council. The public notice states that it be addressed to the Chief Executive. This is because it is the Chief Executive’s role to formally advise the Electoral Officer that a demand been received (once it’s been checked for validity, although this is something the Electoral Officer usually does).
What happens if there is a counter petition supporting the ward – eg timing?
No, Council action is required if a petition supporting establishment of a Māori ward is received. The Local Electoral Act 2001 only covers the right of electors to demand a poll to countermand the Council’s resolution.
Where can I find out more?
Phone us on 06-759 6060 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.