Please find Judge Sarah Reeves Urgency Report re the coalition government’s bill to do a U Turn on Māori wards.

“Māori around the country have clearly expressed their preference to be involved in decision-making at the local level as an expression of their tino rangatiratanga. We were provided with evidence from current and former councillors and mayors, as well as former Members of Parliament, of the extensive advocacy and campaigning efforts prior to 2021 for the establishment of Māori wards and constituencies. The Government’s decision to prioritise its political agenda over the clearly expressed desires and actions of Māori for dedicated political representation at the local level breaches the Crown’s duty to actively protect the rights and interests of Māori.

We consider that the poll provisions are inequitable and discriminatory and a barrier for Māori representation in local government. Reinstating them will make establishing, or re-establishing, Māori wards or constituencies insurmountable. The proposed legislation is also likely to raise human rights issues under The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

Finally, we found that removing the option for Māori voters to choose whether to be represented by general or Māori ward councillors is a breach of the treaty principle of options.”


Local Government Electoral Legislation and Maori Wards and Maori Constituencies Amendment Bill