Disappointment at Whakatane wards result

Tamati Coffey said he had thought if there was one place that could get over the line in terms of voting in favour of Maori wards, it would have been Whakatane. Photo: Supplied.

The MP for Waiariki says the rejection of Maori wards in Whakatane is a huge disappointment.

The district is one of five holding referendums this month on whether to have Maori wards.

Preliminary results released yesterday in Whakatane, showed 55 percent of the local population voted against the move.

Mr Coffey said the results meant Pākehā councillors would remain the voice of Maori in the Whakatane District Council.

He said given the high percentage of Maori in Whakatane, he was surprised at the result.

"I had thought if there was one place in New Zealand that was going to get it over the line it would be Whakatane but sadly I was wrong."

Mr Coffey said he was in talks with the mayor about other ways to have more representation for Maori in the area.

However, lobby group Hobson’s Pledge Group is welcoming the referendum’s result.

Hobson’s Pledge, which opposes privilege for Maori, helped organise a petition which led to the referendum.

Its spokesperson, Don Brash, said including Maori wards would be introducing a racially based political system.

"There is nothing racist about saying we want all New Zealanders to be treated equally at law, how can that possibly be racist? The people who are racist are the people who want racially based political systems."

Whakatane District Mayor Tony Bonne yesterday said that he was gutted the district had voted against introducing Maori wards.

With Maori making up 43 percent of the local population he said the council was lacking in representation so would now have to look at other ways of ensuring Maori were involved in decision making.

Local Government legislation meant the council wouldn’t be able to revisit the matter for another six years, Mr Bonne said.

An Electoral Officer will declare the final result of the poll on Monday.

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Posted on 22-05-2018 14:15 | By 82m

Surely with the high percentage of Maori, they could just vote in whoever they want? Without a special role for them? I agree that having race based political system or group is racist.. Remember the outcry that the chucklehead caused with the pakeha party. The disappointing thing is that even though the council may be mostly pakeha (as voted in) that maori think they need a special ward to have their opinions and thoughts heard in the community..

Peter Pan

Posted on 22-05-2018 13:48 | By stephennel

Sorry Mr. Coffey, your coffee is cold. How about achieving something with our hands and our brains, not relying on the colour of our skins?

Stop the racism

Posted on 22-05-2018 13:34 | By Mike Kuipers von Lande

Please will you cease using the highly racist and offensive ’P’ word. Firstly It is derogatory in meaning and translation. Secondly it is not what New Zealanders with white skin call ourselves, so we don’t accept being called an offensive term invented by someone else. Thirdly it is ignorant and offensive to pretend that all white skinned New Zealanders come from one culture. Fourthly the context it is commonly used in - as in this story- pretends that New Zealanders only come in two types, Maori and white skinned, ignoring the huge number and variety of other cultures and ethnic groups. Brown skinned people used to be referred to using the ’N’ word, thankfully this became unacceptable a long time ago. It is past time to send the ’P’ word to the same place.


Posted on 22-05-2018 12:36 | By rastus

What possible facts could these people have that we do not have that could prompt them to make such racist comment - If the mayor wants more Maori representation then he should start a political club in Whakatane to encourage local Maori to stand at local elections - He should also be sensible enough to understand that if Maori do not support other Maori to succeed then all he is witnessing is the historical fact that all Maori are not the same and that tribalism still rules the roost!

So what?

Posted on 22-05-2018 11:11 | By penguin

The people have spoken. If Coffey and the mayor dont like that then they should not be politicians. Presumably they were keen on democracy when they were voted for. Elections of any sort should allow for ALL to participate. By artificially manipulating the process e.g. creating Maori wards, the playing field is no longer level. Democratic elections are designed to allow anyone to be voted for. There should not be favouritism shown to any individual or faction. If Maori want representation, then stand candidates in the same arena as all others and may the best individuals for the role be elected.


Posted on 22-05-2018 10:21 | By MISS ADVENTURE

I dont think so, unless you are talking about hw far out touch you are with the community as a whole.


Posted on 22-05-2018 10:14 | By rogue

If there is an in balance on the Whakatane Council surely it is due to apathy.Sort the problem at the cause of the apathy, don’t create more by promoting Racism.Things always mean more when they are earned, not given.

Oh dear

Posted on 22-05-2018 09:47 | By overit

They didn’t quite get their way this time.

Even worse than that...

Posted on 22-05-2018 09:07 | By jed

Tamati said this on twitter..."Whakatane Maori Wards campaign? Failed. Like all the rest. But were not racist eh?"So because the vote went against him he comes out with the conclusion that everyone must be racist!That word is thrown around so easily these days that it has lost its real meaning.

buy a dictionary

Posted on 22-05-2018 08:59 | By Captain Sensible

Coffey needs a dictionary to read up on the definition of democracy. He is making an embarrassment of himself with his glaring lack of knowledge on some of the 101 basics that politicians should be fully conversant in.