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Ed Sheeran

Maori ward lock out ups pressure for action
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Pressure is building for action on the rules for Maori representation on local government.

Attempts by the Whakatane, Western Bay of Plenty, Palmerston North and Manawatu councils to create Maori wards as a way to ensure Maori representation around the table have been overturned this month by referendums.

Maori seats are the only issue on which councils can be forced into holding binding referendums.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the polls show an unhealthy response by many New Zealanders to Maori aspirations.

"Maori are contributing positively to the economic and social well being of regions and communities than ever before. The aim to have representation around council is well overdue and it’s a matter that our Crown Maori cabinet committee will be paying some attention to," she says.

Ms Mahuta says shortcomings in the relationship between Maori and local government is a consistent theme at the hui being held on the new Crown Maori Relations portfolio.

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