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New Code of Conduct gives nod to the Treaty

Of Wairarapa’s three district councils, only one is set to immediately adopt a refreshed Code of Conduct with mention of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Carterton District Council [CDC] will adopt Local Government New Zealand’s [LGNZ] 2022 Code of Conduct Template today, which includes a commitment to recognise and respect the significance of the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Its northern neighbours in Masterton have been recommended to adopt the previous council’s 2021 Code of Conduct, “and undertake a review of the Code in the first half of 2023”.

Meanwhile, South Wairarapa District Council’s [SWDC] Code of Conduct is not on the inaugural council meeting agenda.

A spokesperson said SWDC’s current code was based on LGNZ’s 2019 template and was adopted in 2021.

“Because the members of this council are so new, they want time to consider it, so it is not on the first meeting’s agenda.”

The Local Government Act 2002 requires councils to have a Code of Conduct.

The code sets out the expectations for how elected members will conduct themselves, including their behaviour and the disclosure of information.

The LGNZ 2022 template, which will be adopted by CDC, includes an acknowledgement of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and a focus on managing specific types of behaviours, such as bullying or harassment.

It states elected members will acknowledge the core principles of the Treaty and includes specific instruction to councils to “be open to working with mana whenua partners in the design and delivery of their work programmes; to establish a strong and enduring relationship with iwi and Maori, within the context of iwi and Maori expectations”, and ensure services are provided in “a culturally appropriate way that recognises and supports the expression of te ao Maori”.

The template also says councils should “identify opportunities, and develop and maintain ways for Maori to contribute to [council] decisions, and consider ways [council] can help build Maori capacity to contribute to council decision-making”.

The LGNZ template defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious, or insulting behaviour”.

Previously, the LGNZ Code did not explicitly state what constituted unacceptable behaviours.


    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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