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A huge crowd was in attendance at TCDC on October 31. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/TCDC

Māori wards voted in at TCDC

In a unanimous vote today, Thames-Coromandel District Council voted that a Māori ward or wards be established in Thames-Coromandel District in time for the 2025 local elections.
Under the Local Electoral Act, this decision now triggers a representation review that will consider the detail of the wards, such as how many and their names and boundaries, and how many councillors in total TCDC will have. This review process is heavily prescribed under the Act and will involve considerable public consultation. However, the review process does not revisit the decision to have Māori wards.
Tuesday’s decision means the Thames-Coromandel district will have a Māori ward or wards for at least the 2025 and 2028 local elections.
The vote was held in front of a council chamber packed with community members, iwi, and Māori leaders from across the district. At least a dozen people stood before elected members and spoke in support of establishing Māori wards.
Before the vote, Mayor Len Salt said staff would not decide who would be on the Council to represent a Māori ward or wards.
“That is a decision for the voters,” he said. “Our job is simply to decide the framework and to provide advice on the governance and Electoral Act requirements if required. Nor will our Council play any part in who a Māori ward nominee might be, that is not Council’s role. 
“There needs to be an acknowledgement that every councillor sitting around the table is only as strong as the support they have from the rest of their council colleagues and from the community. And that’s a big part of what this process is about today,” he said. 
Councillor Peter Revell thanked those who spoke in front of council before the vote for providing such a strong mandate for establishing Māori wards.
“Can I acknowledge the phenomenal passion, clarity, enthusiasm, humility that I heard this morning. It is a privilege to be here and witness that. Thank you very much one and all,” Cr Revell said.
DETAILS: To find out more about Māori wards and what the representation review must consider, read the cover report and/or comprehensive report in today’s Council meeting agenda.