Maori ward petition delivered to council

Western Bay of Plenty residents and councillors came together to deliver a petition on Maori wards to council offices in Barkes Corner today. Photo: Ryan Wood.

A petition calling for a public poll on the issue of Maori wards for Western Bay of Plenty District Council has been delivered today.

Petitioners arrived at council offices on Barkes Corner at 12pm with boxes containing more than 4000 signatures.

Of those, they say a random check shows at least 2532 are eligible voters within the district, and therefore entitled to call for a poll.

1708 signatures are required to initiate a public poll on the issue of Maori wards, which a majority of councillors voted in favour of at a meeting in November 2017.

The three councillors who voted against the decision – Mike Lally, Margaret Murray-Benge, and Kevin Marsh – joined other residents in presenting the petition.

Kevin says he was surprised when his fellow councillors voted in favour of the proposal, but is happy to stick to the position he took in November.

“We’re all equal in this world. We all have the right to stand for council – there’s no favouritism,” he says.

“I believe the council went about it the wrong way – we should have consulted with the public first, which is what’s going to happen now anyway.”

Mike, who has been on the street collecting signatures these past few weeks, says Maori wards are race-based legislation, which is wrong.

“We’re all Kiwis,” he says. “What’s most concerning to me is the level of distrust out there towards the council. We had someone asking us to make sure we had copies of the petition, because they didn’t trust the council with them.”

He also thanks all the volunteers from around the district who helped with door-knocking and collecting signatures on the street.

For her part, Margaret says she supported the petition because the only way she could ever be on council as a woman was if all people were treated equally.

“I was determined to resist any shift from that position to a different philosophy,” she says.

“The community is also uncomfortable with not having been consulted.”

She expects the resulting public vote to overwhelmingly reject Maori wards for the Western Bay of Plenty.

“What was so sad is the mayor raised the expectations of one sector of society, without consulting with everyone else. I think there will be consequences for him in 2019 especially as a result.”

Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber declined to comment on the petition, other than saying it was within the rights of petitioners to call for a poll.

A council spokesperson says if the petition proves valid a poll will be held on Saturday May 19 (voting closes at midday) and will be conducted under the provisions of the Local Electoral Act 2001 by the council’s electoral officer.

"The review of representation arrangements in something the council is required to undertake every six years. It is where we look at the structure of the council and its community boards, how elected members are elected.

"The review initially considers the electoral system, Maori wards, and then representation arrangements. The representation arrangements process involves public feedback/submissions and will be finalised after the outcome of the Maori wards poll is known."


The Robbing best way to win??

Posted on 04-03-2018 17:13 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Is abstinence, that is what you are saying. Would be no issue if that is indeed what you were/are doing. In fact then I would see no reason for you to blog either. But then again I would there is no way you going resist creating some new topic not of interest and wedge it into some otherwise meaningful debate.

The best way to win,

Posted on 21-02-2018 09:19 | By R. Bell

a debate, stop commenting. Hobsons Wedge supporters don’t want debate, they rely on prejudice. They use divisive rhetoric such as "race based" ignoring the fact that New Zealand is a race based country. We get what we deserve, allowing this group of disaffected old people to drive a wedge into a system that has recently proven beyond doubt to be better than that that went before, particularly for Maori.Therein lies the problem, the cake is crumbling, and they don’t like it one bit. Robin Bell.

@ NZer

Posted on 19-02-2018 12:36 | By waxing

Silly, silly comment. Maori don’t seek a free lunch - just their fair rights as Treaty partners and as required under legislation. You guys get the free lunch by having the chance to overthrow their rights via a referendum - as if simple weight of numbers ever offered democracy to minorities. And talking of free lunches - what about taking Panepane Point for no compensation?

A number of issues,

Posted on 18-02-2018 17:58 | By R. Bell

Rastus claims Maori can vote for whomever they choose. Wrong again rastus.If they choose a candidate as you do i.e. to represent their specific needs, they will fail on two counts. 1.No Maori candidate can represent Maori needs and be elected on the general roll. It’s never happened and never will.2. Any person standing on the general roll, is bound by the code of ethics that prevents them from taking up specific Maori issues at the expense of the general electorate, and they must resign. It is a disgrace to so- called democracy, and a deliberate smack in the face of those Maori who choose to be Maori, something guaranteed by the treaty. That Hobsons Pledge can infiltrate local body democracy to overturn due process is a scandal and their influence should be banned. Robin Bell.


Posted on 18-02-2018 17:41 | By NZer

You would expect comments like that from a Treaty trougher. There is no such thing as a free lunch.


Posted on 18-02-2018 15:17 | By waxing

You sound just like the early colonial settler governments. They had the same attitude, determined to deprive Maori, despite the Treaty and despite Queen Victoria instructing them that "you will honourably and scrupulously uphold the Treaty of Waitangi".


Posted on 17-02-2018 17:42 | By NZer

The difference between you and me is you want something for nothing.. I dont. Simple..

@ NZer

Posted on 17-02-2018 00:11 | By waxing

Although there are legislative obligations on councils and councillors to properly consult with and represent Maori, the reality is that most don’t do so. Cr Lalley won’t tell us how he does. Cr Murray-Benge supports Hobson’s choice. The WBOPDC was sufficiently concerned that they passed by a clear majority of councillors plus the mayor to set up Maori wards. So I definitely don’t agree that any other ethnicity could do the job on behalf of Maori - because none are. And I certainly don’t believe that all humans are the same. Simply look at the differences in opinions between you and I.

@ NZer

Posted on 17-02-2018 00:11 | By waxing

Although there are legislative obligations on councils and councillors to properly consult with and represent Maori, the reality is that most don’t do so. Cr Lalley won’t tell us how he does. Cr Murray-Benge supports Hobson’s choice. The WBOPDC was sufficiently concerned that they passed by a clear majority of councillors plus the mayor to set up Maori wards. So I definitely don’t agree that any other ethnicity could do the job on behalf of Maori - because none are. And I certainly don’t believe that all humans are the same. Simply look at the differences in opinions between you and I.

Robin Bell

Posted on 15-02-2018 17:36 | By Centurion

Your reply to Rastus seems to sum up this issue nicely. Both Smith and Bridges were elected by the general electorate and as such represented all, not just one sector. No special treatment required.


Posted on 15-02-2018 16:38 | By NZer

Any other ethnic group could do the same job. Remember we are all humans. All humans are the same..

My inward thinking, rastus?

Posted on 15-02-2018 15:14 | By R. Bell

What a strange definition of my position. My "thinking" is all inclusive. I too new Vic Smith, very well actually. My Wife and I swam in his heated swimming pool often on cold nights, looking over the harbour, lovely. The point is rastus, Vic did NOT represent Maori interests, some would say just his own. I don’t know. As for Simon, What level of Moaridom does he represent in Parliament? Please answer as I love to educate myself on such matters. Robin Bell.

Regional Council's Maori wards

Posted on 15-02-2018 14:31 | By waxing

A very simple question: can anyone say that the Regional Council’s Maori wards in the Eastern Bay of Plenty have failed and not been of benefit both to Maori and everyone else? And if anyone feels they can say that, can they please say why they have failed and why there has been no benefit to anyone?


Posted on 15-02-2018 13:44 | By rastus

Robin Bell - you show such inward thinking when it comes to democracy! Of course Maori can vote for whom ever they please - In Tauranga (I am guessing long before your kind of politics was born) we had an excellent Maori by the name of Vic Smith on the council for several terms - he by the way was not voted in on any special circumstance - just stood with the rest and succeeded. I was not aware but apparently Simon Bridges represents some level of Maoridom - didn’t ever see him wanting any special priveleges. Colin talks of racism - yes you are dead right the moment any race based rules/bylaws/legislation is proposed and then enacted by ’do gooders’ - if the cap fits.

Oh! and by the way, groutby.

Posted on 15-02-2018 12:51 | By R. Bell

We are NOT one people, never have been and never will be. Until Maori rights are recognised or ignorant opposition to them abolished Things will remain the same. Believe me.In the mean time, enjoy your delusion. Robin Bell.


Posted on 15-02-2018 12:06 | By R. Bell

You and others choose the candidate best suited to your needs. At local body level Maori are denied that privilege. At central level they have had that right, from day one, and continue to exercise that right. Nothing to do with Maori "suffrage" everything to do with the treaty and subsequent Constitutional Acts. Educate yourself. Robin Bell.

So carcass you agree there are two

Posted on 15-02-2018 11:14 | By R. Bell

I guess that’s a break through of sorts. Personally I live in both and just love it. You and your friends should try it . Robin Bell.

A tiny step for grey

Posted on 15-02-2018 11:08 | By R. Bell

for WBOPDC. Yet again groutby you show ignorance of what the treaty said and stood for.No real doubt you will get the result you crave, but ponder the current gov’t and the fact that 7 members were elected by Maori to represent Maori. That you and others cannot see value in a similar arrangement at local body level FOR JUST ONE, is as Colleen says SAD. The notion that people like Simon and Winston represent Maori is complete and utter nonsense Robin Bell.


Posted on 15-02-2018 10:04 | By Colleen Spiro

Often Maori attempt stand on their own two feet, but as I said racism is alive and well in NZ and democracy does not work for is a double edged sword....LOOK AT THAT COMMENT from Capt CAVEMAN, proves my point - DISGUSTING"Dont mind having Maori to be representing on issues involving proven concerns like pa’s historic places etc but nothing else""

Perron Mitchell

Posted on 15-02-2018 08:16 | By Kendra

Robin Bell. What a disingenuous pile of nonsense. Maori suffrage ended BEFORE universal suffrage. We don’t maintain seperate "Women’s Wards", nor ward’s for any other seperate race, so why must we now start with separatist race based politics now? This reeks of Apartheid! Maori can and do stand for positions in both local and central government, and Maori can submit their individual vote for their prefered candidate, just the same as everyone else.


Posted on 15-02-2018 00:57 | By Centurion

Why is it necessary to always depict Maori as unable to stand on their own two feet? There are ample examples of Maori in high positions, in business, in the military, in universities, in local and central government, in the church. Were they placed into those positions as an act of (dare I say it?) patronising patronage by the dreaded colonials? No, they achieved their positions on merit. And similar positions are available to all New Zealanders (not just Maori) prepared to put effort into firstly gaining a solid education. Other (minority) races in NZ set the example in this respect.

No disgrace at all Robin...

Posted on 14-02-2018 21:11 | By groutby you well know two completely different circumstances, was settled when the treaty was signed, and the other at a much later date concerning (and rightly so) gender..and Colleen, those relating to Maoridom have EXACTLY the same rights and privileges as anyone else, it is important to try and remove ’special’ tag to such groups, we live as one, that’s what we signed up for, so let’s all honour it...


Posted on 14-02-2018 20:46 | By Carcass

R Bell which world do you live in.Women can say what they like in the white mans world.What about your world

Go simon !

Posted on 14-02-2018 20:28 | By ow

We need more maori role models !Bring on simon bridges for prime minister !!Peter and robin should stand for council. They already have name recognition

An insult to democracy and the suffragettes,

Posted on 14-02-2018 17:42 | By R. Bell

who sacrificed so much to allow people like Margaret Murray- Benge the freedom to bring a womans perspective to democracy. What ever we do, don’t give the same privilege to Maori. It’s a disgrace. Robin Bell.

Excellent. Democracy will prevail

Posted on 14-02-2018 16:33 | By NZer

And even better messers Peter Day and Robin bell will be happy as everybody will have a democratic even say on the matter now. Let all New Zealanders decide when it comes to issues of race based legislation. Long live Democracy. The cornerstone of NZ


Posted on 14-02-2018 16:31 | By astex

Can Tauranga ratepayers do the same to put the museum issue to rest, one way or the other?


Posted on 14-02-2018 16:25 | By Merlin

No to separatism.


Posted on 14-02-2018 16:22 | By Colleen Spiro

Democracy DOES NOT WORK FOR MINORITIES ...Maori are given tokenism in Councils.....Margaret Murray Benge aligns herself to Hobsons Pledge, which if you bother to have a look at their FB is a Hate Page against tell me again how she says we are all equal....15% of the population Maori, 85% the rest, and racism is alive and well in NZ. Pffft so not much hope of being elected.

Great work !

Posted on 14-02-2018 16:09 | By Captain Sensible

Excellent work. Well done. Democracy in action.

Well done!

Posted on 14-02-2018 15:59 | By Maryfaith

Well done to each of these good people who gave up their time and put their ’money’ where their mouth is for something they strongly believe in.


Posted on 14-02-2018 15:37 | By Capt_Kaveman

Dont mind having Maori to be representing on issues involving proven concerns like pa’s historic places etc but nothing else

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