December 11, 2023

Auckland councillors reject Māori wards

Watch: Auckland councillors voted to reject the establishment of Māori seats at the council table, pushing guaranteed Māori representation back until at least 2028.

Auckland won’t get a Māori ward on its council until 2028 at the earliest following a vote by councillors on Thursday afternoon.

After an impassioned debate, councillors on the governing body voted 11-9 against a proposal by councillor Alf Filipaina to introduce one or two new Māori seats in the 2025 election.

Instead, they voted 13-8 for a proposal by Mayor Wayne Brown to carry out more “research” before they revisit the issue.

The decision means Māori seats won’t be introduced until at least 2028.

Only two councillors publicly stated they were against the idea of Māori seats.

Public submissions from people in Tāmaki Makaurau were largely against the proposal but a majority of Māori were in favour.

Councillor Mike Lee, who voted for Brown’s proposal, said the Mayor’s approach was a sensible compromise under the circumstances.

“We went out to the people of Auckland and said: ‘Have your say.’ And 68 percent said they didn’t want Māori seats as well as an Independent Māori Statutory Board.”

Lee claimed further engagement was required with Māori because, from the submissions, it wasn’t clear what the majority of Māori wanted.

Many of those who were opposed said it was also better to wait to find out the make-up of the next central Government.

Disappointed councillors said the governing body was simply “kicking the can down the road”.

Speaking to reporters, Filipaina said: “I’m just pissed off. But it is what it is. 

“As my late mother said, ‘Go with the flow, son.’ And I’m going to do that.”

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes