The claims by Ryan Wood (page 19, The Weekend Sun, May 11), that Maori wards have not increased Maori participation in democracy, that there is no need for them, and that councillors already represent all voters, lack credibility. Council participation is measured by how many representatives there are at the council table, not how many people voted. On the Bay of Plenty Regional Council with Maori wards there are three Maori councillors. That is increased participation. On the Western Bay of Plenty Council without Maori wards there are no Maori representatives. That is non-participation. Ryan claims that Maori wards are not necessary for Maori to be elected, but nobody is claiming that, just that Maori wards are fairer. Ryan says that at present all councillors represent all their voters. However, the councillors objecting to Maori wards have not represented their Maori voters. Maori wards will eventually be supported because, like Ryan, nobody can produce any credible objection to them.
P Dey, Welcome Bay.