Taxpayers' Union Calls for Genuine Public Participation in Māori Wards Debate
The Taxpayers' Union is pressing the Greater Wellington, Hauraki, and Whanganui Councils, and all other councils considering Māori Wards, to uphold the spirit of democracy by initiating referenda. Even if such polls cannot be legally binding under the outgoing government’s legislation, they provide an invaluable opportunity for local communities to voice their stance on the matter.
Oliver Bryan, Investigations Coordinator for the Taxpayers' Union, said, “While the legislation may have changed, the fundamental tenets of democracy remain. Councils have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to gauge the sentiment of their constituents through non-binding referenda on Māori Wards. Even if these polls can't have legal weight, their outcomes should be respected and considered in the final decision-making process.
"The incoming Government has a duty to rectify the shortcomings of the 2021 legislation. We urge the new administration to make it a priority to restore genuine public participation in decisions that shape local governance. The heart of democracy beats with the will of the people, and it’s time our legislation reflected that.
“Democracy thrives when elected officials value and heed the collective voice of their constituents. It's not just about legal frameworks, but the very ethos of representation and accountability.”