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Ed Sheeran

Voters urged to ignore Maori ward petition
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Whakatane mayor Tony Bonne is urging voters to ignore a petition promoted by the Hobson’s Pledge lobby group seeking to overturn a council decision to create Maori wards for the next election.

Mr Bonne says the nation is maturing, and once Maori wards are in place people will ask why there was a fuss.

“I am confident that once (wards are) introduced our district will move forward so much quicker for the benefit of all.

Whakatane-based list MP Kiritapu Allen is also urging support for the seats, given that 43 percent of the population in the area is Maori.

She says the Hobson’s Pledge group founded by former National party and ACT leader Don Brash is “an old-school, redundant, race-based, divisive driven group that doesn’t add value to a modern, values-driven New Zealand.”

Hobson's Pledge is also promoting petitions against Maori wards in other regions, including Kaikoura, Palmerston North, Manawatu and Western Bay of Plenty.

If petition backers collect signatures from 5 percent of eligible voters, a council must hold a binding referendum on whether the change can go ahead.

 

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