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Maori voice set to join council committees

Maori Standing Committee [MSC] representatives could soon have voting rights on a selection of South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] committees.

This change aligns with similar initiatives by other Wairarapa councils, which have appointed representatives with voting rights on council committees from iwi [Masterton] and Marae [Carterton].

The MSC meets on Monday to discuss the proposal advocated by South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connelly.

MSC chair Andrea Rutene said full representation was “critical to being fully involved in the business of local council for South Wairarapa”.

“Mayor Connelly has informed me that there is an opportunity for MSC members to be appointed to some council committees with voting rights,” she said.

“As such, a formal letter has been sent to all membership bodies to confirm representation on the MSC.”

SWDC officers have recommended the MSC consider appointments of representatives to the following council committees: Finance, Infrastructure and Community Services, Climate Change and Environment, and Assurance and Risk.

They will also be asked on Monday to consider appointments and the remuneration of MSC representatives through the committee’s existing budget for the remainder of the financial year.

Under section 41A of the Local Government Act 2002, the mayor has the power to establish committees and appoint the chairperson of each committee.

SWDC can appoint representatives from the MSC who represent mana whenua and the wider Maori community to committees with voting rights.

These members would undertake the same preparatory duties as councillors and contribute to discussions with their expertise and knowledge. SWDC officers said providing voting rights on committees to these appointees “increases the authenticity of the appointment and strengthens participation in decision-making processes”.

The MSC has the option to appoint a representative to all four committees or not appoint a representative to any committees.

Alternatively, members may appoint a representative to committees of particular interest to Maori.

There is no budget allocation available for the remuneration of appointees for the remainder of the 2022-2023 financial year.

This will be reviewed as part of the upcoming annual plan.

The MSC has the option to allocate funds from within its existing budget for the remuneration of appointed members. -NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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