Kaikaunihera Māori mō te kaunihera ā-rohe, arā a Horizons

Māori representation for Horizons Regional Council

Tēnā koutou e te kāhui, kurupākara ngā pae i te korokī, i te korihi a ngā manu, i whakahoki kōrero mai mō te nohonga Māori, nei rā te mihi, tēnā koutou katoa. An acknowledgement to everyone, a resounding response was heard from those who provided views on Māori representation; we thank you all.

Following an opportunity to consider whether to establish Māori constituencies in time for the 2022 local elections, Council decided to establish Māori representation on 18 May 2021.

The number of Māori constituencies Horizons could have is set out in legislation – councils don’t have any power to change this. In our region, it is likely there would be two Māori councillors. They could represent one Māori constituency each OR both councillors could represent a single Māori constituency that covers the whole region. 

A review of our entire representation arrangements will now be undertaken. This will cover the names, boundaries and number of constituencies, and the number of councillors in each constituency.

Next steps

When Māori constituencies are established, voters enrolled on the Māori electoral roll vote will vote in a Māori constituency and voters on the general roll continue to vote in their general constituency. No one can be enrolled on both rolls at the same time, so no one gets to vote in more than one constituency.

Horizons would engage with its communities before making any recommendations about the arrangements, and there would be a formal public consultation process before a representation proposal is adopted (including appeals and objections to the independent Local Government Commission).

If, based on feedback received through this survey, Council decides not to establish Māori constituencies for the 2022 local elections, Councillors could still consider whether to make changes for the 2025 election. They would have until November 2023 to determine whether to establish Māori constituencies for that election.

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Ngā Pātai Auau - Frequently Asked Questions

He aha tā te Kaunihera ui? What is Council asking?
Horizons Regional Council has a short survey to ask residents and ratepayers in the region about whether there should be Māori representatives on the regional council. This would involve establishing one or two Māori constituencies.

He aha oti te wāhanga? What is a constituency?
Regional councils must divide their area into constituencies, in the same way the whole of New Zealand is divided into electorates, or city and district councils can have wards. Voters in regional council elections vote for the candidate(s) they want to represent their constituency.

E rua ngā momo wāhanga – whānui me te Māori. He aha te rerenga kētanga? There are two kinds of constituency – general and Māori. What’s the difference?

The difference is that voters enrolled on the general electoral roll vote for representatives in general constituencies and voters enrolled on the Māori roll vote for representatives in Māori constituencies. No one can be enrolled on the general roll and the Māori roll at the same time; you can only vote for the candidates in one constituency within a region.

Mō te aha ngā wāhanga Māori? What are Māori constituencies for?
The aim of Māori constituencies is to guarantee Māori representation on a regional council, the same as Māori electoral seats in Parliament. One of council’s duties under the Local Government Act 2002 is to provide for Māori participation in council decision-making. Having Māori constituencies is a mechanism that could help Horizons Regional Council meet its legal responsibilities. Māori constituencies would add to the ways Horizons engages with Māori, not replace them. They provide another way for Māori on the Māori roll to bring their priorities to Council more directly. They may also encourage more Māori to participate in local elections, by standing for office and voting.

Mēnā he kaikaunihera Māori ka kōrero anake te Kaunihera i ngā take Māori ki aua kaikaunihera Māori? Does having Māori constituency councillors mean that Council only needs to discuss matters that may impact Māori with those councillors?
No. Councillors elected to Māori constituencies would be another way for Horizons to meet its obligations to involve Māori in decision-making. They would not replace the existing day-to-day requirements to build strong, effective and respectful relationships with mana whenua in the region. They are also not a substitute for engaging with individuals, whanau, hapū, iwi and tangata whenua about issues that affect them.

Me pēhea ngā kaunihera e kōwhiri ai i te tokohia o ngā kaikaunihera whānui, Māori hoki? How do councils decide how many general and Māori councillors to have?
Regional councils can have between 6 and 14 councillors in total. The number of Māori councillors is based on the size of the Māori electoral population compared to the general electoral population using a formula set out in the Local Electoral Act 2002. Councils can’t decide to have a different number or ratio of Māori representatives.

Electoral populations are calculated by Statistics NZ. They are based on the estimated population and numbers of voters enrolled on the Māori and general rolls, to take into account people who are not enrolled such as children. In the Horizons Region, if there were 11-14 councillors in total, 2 would be Māori representatives. If there were 6-10, 1 would be Māori. Horizons currently has 12 councillors.

He aha e kore ōrite ai ngā kanohi mō ia wāhanga? Why isn’t the number of elected representatives in each constituency the same? 
This is usually because the population isn’t spread evenly across a region. The aim is for the councillors to each represent a similar number of people. So currently in the Horizons Region, for example, the Palmerston North constituency is a small area but there are four councillors to represent the 90,000 people who live there. The Tararua constituency covers a much larger area but has only one councillor who represents about 19,000 people.

Ko wai e taea ai te tū hei kanohi Māori? Who can stand as a candidate for Māori constituencies?
Candidates do not have to be of Māori descent or enrolled on the Māori roll. Anyone who is eligible can stand for election in the constituency they want to represent.

To be eligible, a candidate must be a New Zealand citizen, enrolled as a Parliamentary elector anywhere in New Zealand, and nominated by two electors whose names are on the roll in the constituency the candidate is standing for.

Candidates may not stand for more than one constituency in the region at the same time, so a candidate couldn’t stand in both a general and a Māori constituency.

Ka āhei ngā kaipōti o te rārangi Māori ki te pōti i te wāhanga whānui i ngā kōwhiringa o ia wāhanga? Can voters enrolled on the Māori roll choose to vote in a general constituency in their local council elections?
No. If you are enrolled on the Māori roll and your regional council has Māori constituencies, your vote will be for candidates in the Māori constituency. Only voters enrolled on the general roll can vote in a general constituency.

You can only change the roll you’re enrolled on during the next Māori electoral option (when all Māori voters are asked which roll they want to be enrolled on); this would mean you would vote on the general roll for the national Parliamentary elections too. The next Māori electoral option is scheduled for 2024. They are usually held every five years.

Mēnā ka whakaae ngā kaikaunihera ki te whakarite i ngā wāhanga Māori mō te pōtitanga o 2022, ka ahatia? If councillors decide to establish Māori constituencies in time for the 2022 election, what would happen next?
They would have to review their current representation arrangements in 2021. The representation review would look at the number of constituencies, their boundaries and names, and the overall number of elected members and number in each constituency. It would include a formal consultation process, an opportunity for anyone to make their views known about the arrangements. The Local Electoral Act sets out what a representation review has to cover and how (and when) it has to be done.

Mēnā kāhore ngā kaikaunihera e whakaae kia whakaritea he wāhanga Māori mō te pōtitanga o 2022 he aha te tikanga o tēnā? If councillors don’t decide to establish Māori constituencies in time for the 2022 election, what will that mean?
Nothing will change for the 2022 election – the number of general constituencies and councillors would the same. Councillors can continue to consider whether to make changes for the 2025 election and will have until November 2023 to decide whether to establish Māori constituencies.

He aha ngā panoni o te ture? What are the changes to the Local Electoral Act?
In February, the Government passed amendments to the Local Electoral Act 2002. This changed the process for establishing Māori constituencies, to improve the consistency between the way both general and Māori constituencies are established. There is no longer any requirement or ability to hold a binding poll of voters; the decision can be made by council and not be overturned.

The law change also gave councils another opportunity to consider whether to establish Māori constituencies in time for the 2022 local election, by extending the deadline for the decision to 21 May 2021.

Government expects to make more changes to the Local Electoral Act later this year, to create a new process for decisions on establishing Māori constituencies aligned with the current process for establishing general constituencies.