Māori wards and democracy

Five regions have had or are having referendums on whether they should have Māori wards. Councils have decided to introduce wards but referendums have been forced.

Palmerston North result:

  • 68.7% AGAINST the establishment of a Māori ward or wards for Palmerston North City Council
  • 30.88% FOR the establishment of a Māori ward or wards for Palmerston North City Council

Initial voter return 37.21% so a majority didn’t vote, but of those who did a clear majority voted against.

Manawatu District result:

  • 77.04% Against
  • 22.76% For

Voter Return 44.47%.

Whakatane District:

  • Against Māori Wards 55.43%
  • For Māori Wards 44.33%

Voter return 44%.

That was closer but still a clear majority.

RNZ: MP surprised and disappointed Whakatāne rejected Māori wards

The MP for Waiariki says the rejection of Māori wards in Whakatāne is a huge disappointment.

Mr Coffey said the results meant Pākehā councillors would remain the voice of Māori in the Whakatāne District Council.

He said given the high percentage of Māori in Whakatāne, he was surprised at the result.

That suggests that he and the councils that tried to bring in Māori wards are out of touch with the electorates.

“I had thought if there was one place in New Zealand that was going to get it over the line it would be Whakatāne but sadly I was wrong.”

Mr Coffey said he was in talks with the mayor about other ways to have more representation for Māori in the area.

Instead of promoting separate wards for some voters, why not promote equal democracy for everyone?

All the time and effort put into trying to bring in an obviously unpopular ward system and campaigning for referendums might be better put towards encouraging greater Maori participation in democracy open to everyone.

I think it’s backward trying to give special democratic privileges to some people.

These referendum results may make other councils think more carefully before trying to impose privileged democracy on their constituents.


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 21, 2018

    Here’s a novel idea – put up good candidates

    • Gezza

       /  May 21, 2018

      For Maori Wards? You think that would’ve made a difference?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 21, 2018

        For Labour LG tickets for instance. Maori Wards are pathetic – for people who can’t walk as equals but need a crutch.

  2. Traveller

     /  May 22, 2018

    The idea that anyone could prefer Coffey over Flavell floors me

    • Missy

       /  May 22, 2018

      Having met them both I agree. Flavell is a gentleman and genuine person, Coffey comes across as very fake.

  3. Missy

     /  May 22, 2018

    It seems Coffey has caught the ‘Remainers’ disease. The idea that it isn’t democracy because he didn’t like the result. I bet if the result was the other way around and someone tweeted what Coffey did here he would be the first to criticise them, it is only democracy when his side wins.

  4. Zedd

     /  May 22, 2018

    the telling number is 44.47% (who voted).. mostly the ‘red-necks’ ?

    • Corky

       /  May 22, 2018

      Cheap shot. If so,where were the brown necks?

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