New Plymouth mayor’s Maori Ward drive as popular as a poo in the pool

A petition against Maori wards with more than 4000 signatures will be delivered to mayor Andrew Judd in two weeks and set in motion a referendum on the issue.

In September the New Plymouth District Council voted in favour of developing a ward to ensure Maori had a voice on the council.

The decision was condemned by many and prompted Hugh Johnson to start a petition against the move.

Current legislation allows for a binding referendum on Maori wards if a petition with at least 5 per cent of the electorate is collected.

However, that is not the case with decisions on other wards where the local government commissioner has the final say.

Five per cent of the New Plymouth electorate equates to 2749 signatures, and Johnson said he would be handing in “4000 plus” signatures to Judd on February 12.

A rare chance for the rate payers to force their will on a council determined to go against the will of the people.  

The public will then get the chance to vote for or against Maori wards and the result will bind the council for six years, when the decision can come up for discussion again.

Johnson estimated about 80 per cent of people spoken to signed the petition and he believed it reflected the feeling within the community.

“I think everybody’s pretty sure which way it will go, but if it goes the other way we’ve got to accept what other people say in the referendum. That’s what it’s all about, that’s democracy,” Johnson said.

Judd, who has championed Maori representation since being elected, has known for some time the issue would end in a referendum but said the different rules for Maori wards and other wards was still “unfair.”

“Why on earth would you only have that choice [binding referendum] for Maori? How do you think that makes Maori feel?” he said.

First up, the Treaty should never extend local to body politics as it was between the Crown and Maori and local councils never existed in 1840.

Second, there should be a referendum on it, Len Brown promised one and never delivered.  This mayor looks to be in the same arrogant, I know best mould.

Third, get knotted over special Maori seats in council…

The joke of it is that this is white liberal guilt driving the process, and not a result of push by Maori.

If you want representation then stand for council and get elected.  Don’t expect whitey to hand you an appointed seat.

Poor New Plymouth.  An idiot for a list MP and an idiot for mayor. [UPDATED / FIXED]


– Taranaki Daily News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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