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Ed Sheeran

Hamilton mayor defends Maori seat cop out
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Hamilton’s mayor says Māori seats aren’t the only way to ensure better Maori representation in local government.

Waikato Tainui is upset the Hamilton Council last week voted 8-4 against introducing Māori wards in time for next year’s local government election.

Mayor Paula Southgate says while she would personally like to see Māori seats, the law change making it easier to do so came in the middle of a consultation on her council’s proposed Māori strategy, He Pou Manawa Ora, which would include enhancements to its existing system of māngai Māori serving on some committees.

"One or two seats at the table to get Māori is a tool in the toolbox but there are a whole raft more tools we can use to get Māori participating alongside others at all levels of council activity, so not just voting at the very last moment but shaping the way through," Mayor Southgate says.

The chair of Waikato Tainui’s Te Arataura executive, Linda Te Aho, says the council's decision showed a lack of vision and a lack of courage.

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