Tauranga City Council Electoral Officer Warwick Lampp is continuing with preparations for a poll of electors on the establishment of a Māori Ward for the local government elections in 2022, but has indicated that legislation now before Parliament is likely to result in the poll being cancelled.
“As it stands, a valid petition signed by 5% of registered electors has been received, which requires that a binding poll be held on the Māori Ward proposal,” he said. “However, following the announcement by the Minister of Local Government, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, on 1 February, a new bill has been introduced to Parliament which would remove the provision for a poll on the establishment of Māori wards from the Local Electoral Act 2001. Should that Bill be passed into law, this poll would be cancelled.”
In the meantime, he said the existing legislation meant the Council was obliged to continue preparations for the poll, including publication of a public notice and providing for an update of the electoral rolls for the city. In the event that the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill is not passed into law, voting papers would be mailed out to registered voters on 16 April and voting would close on Saturday, 8 May 2021.
Public submissions on the Bill closed at 5pm yesterday.