The Māori Party is excited by some of the electoral trends emerging from the 2019 Local Government elections.
“This election, the commitment and sacrifice demonstrated by so many Māori candidates standing has been encouraging” said Che Wilson, President of the Māori Party.
“In taking a stand – whether in the high profile mayoral candidacy of John Tamihere or in the numbers of Māori candidates standing in areas such as Wairoa or the Far North District Council – tangata whenua candidates are showing us all what it takes to put your principles on a platform; to give voice to the urgency we need around issues such as wai or climate change; to represent the growing demographic; to ensure local government is accountable”.
“We are particularly proud that along with many of our members standing for Council, DHB and local authority roles, two of our executive were voted into local government, tāne vice-president, Rangi Mclean successfully returned to both the Wiri Licensing Trust and the Manurewa Local board; and treasurer, Elijah Pue the fresh new face in the Ruapehu District Council” said Mr Wilson.
“The numbers of Māori women that entered the race make me optimistic for a meaningful change in local government” said Kaapua Smith, wahine vice-president for the Māori Party. “Our hearty congratulations to Lyn Riesterer who has been elected new mayor for Opotiki District Council; to new Wellington City Councillor, former student President, Tamatha Paul and of course some of our veteran councilors who have been successfully re-elected, like Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.
“Im proud of all my whānau across the motu that put themselves forward in this election. As Ngai Tahu, I was also very proud to see the flourishing representation of Ngāi Tahu elected across the country (Bayden Barber, James Daniels, Carmen Houlahan, Tina Nixon, Hinewai Ormsby, Hinga Whiu and Craig Pauling). It strikes me as significant when our iwi are able to look out across Aotearoa and endorse their own whānau members standing up to be counted” said Ms Smith.
“The same is true for our Samoan and Pasifika candidates. Their whanau and community support has resulted in increased representation that ensures a greater Pasifika voice where it counts.”
“The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) requires councils to consider and promote the current and future wellbeing of communities” said Ms Smith. “We are buoyed by the representation in the local body elections and celebrate everyone who has told the nation, it’s time for a fresh change and to hear the Māori voice in its distinctive and authentic strength without being filtered through another lens”.
“In 2019, we have had an amazing league of diverse candidates – from traditional Māori games exponent Harko Brown, to reformed gang leader and Man-Up advocate, Jay Hepi; to former Māori Language Commissioner Glenis Philip-Barbara; to IronMaori Founder, Heather Skipworth and Kaikohe Anglican minister Kuini Matene. What that shows us is that Māori are tired of being marginalized, side-lined or overlooked: we are standing up to be counted and that’s a great thing” said Ms Smith.