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Ed Sheeran

Iwi positions retained despite opposition

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The new Otago Regional Council has voted 8-4 to stick with the previous council’s decision to appoint iwi representatives to its strategy and planning committee.

Two Ngāi Tahu representatives joined the council's policy committee in June last year.

Councillor and former MP Michael Laws said the council was required to consult with Māori, not iwi, and that was not the same thing.

Opponents said there were other ways the council could meet its obligation to consult iwi which did not involve voting rights.

But other councillors said the input from Iwi in the last council was positive and thoughtful and expert.

Meanwhile, Marlborough District Council is struggling to find Iwi representatives to assist with its mahi, with four of its five Iwi positions empty.

Richard Hunter, who represents Iwi on the assets and services committee, says many of the region's Māori skilled in governance were wrapped up in their own Iwi dynamics.

Anyone wanting the position needs to get approval from the eight Te Tau Ihu Iwi, the Maataa Waka Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

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