Rangitīkei District Councillor Soraya Peke-Mason will continue campaigning to establish Māori wards on councils, despite the Green Party member's bill calling for a change to the Local Electoral Act being voted down at its first reading.
Peke-Mason says, "When you look at the fact that Iwi recommendation that goes to Council can first of all be overturned by the Councillors. But if it does get passed that process, it can go to a referendum which can be clawed by any rate payer in the rohe, get it signed off through a petition and get five or ten percent or whatever it is and then it can be overturned. That is totally unfair."
Recently, National, Act and New Zealand First voted against the bill where Green Party MP Marama Davidson proposed a law change whereby citizens could no longer oppose a Māori ward. Soraya-Peke Mason says, the current system was unfair because a Māori ward was easily overturned by the general public through a referendum process.
"The people who can do that are not Māori and so that is unfair. How can we change that, we need to have alot more Māori rate paying citizens around and continue to not let this lie on the table but to lobby Government to where we can actually get that changed."
Peke-Mason is now looking to raise the issue with Local Government's Te Maruata this month.