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Ward referendums a veto on indigenous rights

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Ward referendums a veto on indigenous rights

The Green Party is renewing its call to remove the double standard that allows for referendum on the establishment of Maori wards but not other sorts of council voting systems.

A petition campaign by Don Brash's Hobson's Pledge group means proposed wards in Palmerston North, Kaikoura, Manawatu, Western Bay of Plenty and Whakatane are likely to be overturned by referendums to be held in May.

Maori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson says it's unacceptable indigenous rights to representation are being decided on by the majority.

She says the United Nations has noted the persistently low levels of Maori in local government.

The Government need to support the leadership of local councils by ensuring the same process for establishing both Maori and general wards.

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