Auckland Mayoral candidates' knowledge of Māori issues put to the test

By Te Ao Māori News
  • Auckland

Three of Auckland's mayoral candidates say they support the idea of having dedicated Māori seats on the Auckland Council, but some candidates admit their knowledge of Māori issues needs to improve.

Auckland Mayoral candidates Phil Goff, John Palino and 22-year old Chloe Swarbrick say they support Māori seats.

John Palino says, “We need to have more voice of Māori in council and we need to i need to see more culture i've been here 21 years and I’ve seen almost nothing i've seen it decrease.”

Chloe Swarbrick says, “The main thing I'm concerned about is where we're going to see Māori represented who aren't from Ngāti Whātua.”

However according to Phil Goff, “If we're going to have Māori representation then i'd rather have it elected than appointed.”

Vic Crone and Mark Thomas are opposed to the idea.

Crone says, “What i'm focussed on is actually how you build more diversity in council not just across the councillors but also in the senior decision makers in council. The average age of councillors is 59 and are predominantly white.”

The five candidates took part in a 1.5 hour debate in Māngere today and were asked questions pertaining to issues affecting Māori and South Auckland.

Some admit their knowledge of Māori issues needs to improve.

Chloe Swarbrick says, “I’m incredibly embarrassed of the fact that I don’t know enough Te Reo I spoke as well that I’m embarrassed that I had to go to law school to learn about the Treaty of Waitangi.”

Vic Crone says, “I think all of us in terms of our general knowledge(Maori Issues)  need to get better but i think that’s also representative of the Auckland is a really big place.”

According to recent polls, Phil Goff is expected to win Auckland's mayoralty.