Non-elected iwi representatives will have voting rights on Otago Regional Council

With no public engagement that I’m aware of the Otago Regional Councillors have voted to add two non-elected iwi representatives to the council’s policy committee, which includes giving them voting rights.

This looks like an abuse of democracy.

ODT: Ngai Tahu to join ORC today

Ngai Tahu representatives are ready to bring an iwi lens to Otago Regional Council policy-making.

The council is holding an extraordinary meeting beforehand to establish the terms of reference for their appointments.

After a lengthy debate last month, councillors voted seven to three to approach local runaka to appoint two representatives on its policy committee, joining 12 elected councillors.

They will have voting rights and be paid $9957 per year, calculated as 20% of a councillor’s base salary.

Giving voting rights amounting to 1/7 of the council vote (14%) to people who are unelected is a problem to me. There is no indication how they were selected or appointed by Ngai Tahui either.

Cr Michael Laws called the appointment ”undemocratic”.

Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said it was a way of improving the council’s partnership with iwi.

I have no problem with consulting with Ngai Tahu. I have no problem with the capable people appointed – Edward Ellison and Tahu Potiki.

But there has to be democratic ways of improving the council’s ‘partnership’ with any groups.

This may (should) be a prominent issue in the local body elections later this year.

Leave a comment


  1. I can understand the difficulties Ngai Tahu have in working with council. The Otago Regional Council doesn’t seem to have consulted anyone on this issue. So no wonder Maori need a voice at the table. I hope the council will be even handed on this issue and appoint two new members to represent the interests of ordinary folk in Otago.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  12th June 2019

      One Maori local politician said that he found this insulting (or words to that effect)

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  12th June 2019

        It is insulting to assume that someone of a particular race can’t possibly succeed on merit so has to given it as if they were a child.

  2. Corky

     /  12th June 2019

    Let’s hope a clear message is sent to Councillors who lack an understanding of what the word ‘democracy’ means.

  3. Zedd

     /  12th June 2019

    This will likely go under the ‘banner’ : Affirmative Action/Tiriti o waitangi commitment ? :/

  4. David

     /  12th June 2019

    This is great they are a rapacious capitalist money making operation currently chopping down forests and converting to dairy as well as being huge in the tourism industry.
    They will vote for less intrusion and regulations while the lefties clutch their bone carvings.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  12th June 2019

    Surely this could be challenged in court?

  1. Non-elected iwi representatives will have voting rights on Otago Regional Council — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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