Runanga, council opt for no ward

Glenys Dickson.

The Gore District Council and Hokonui Runanga have agreed not to establish a Maori ward in the district for the 2025 local body elections.

Instead, a working group will be formed and representatives from both groups will meet monthly.

The council has been planning its representation review, which will take place next year.

A council resolution can establish a Maori ward, but for it to have an effect on the 2025 election, it would have to be passed by November 23.

The matter was discussed at the council meeting last week.

In a report tabled at the meeting, community lifestyle services general manager Rex Capil said Mayor Ben Bell and councillors Keith Hovell and Paul McPhail recently met representatives from the Hokonui Runanga to discuss the possibility of forming a Maori ward.

‘‘It was a very productive and constructive meeting, where at an early stage it was clear the council representatives and runanga representatives had a very similar stance on the Maori ward matter.

‘‘There was a clear preference from Hokonui Runanga representatives for the council to resolve not to establish a Maori ward.’’

This led to a conversation about how both parties could further develop their relationship and it was decided a working party could achieve this.

The report recommended the mayor and two councillors represented the council on the working party.

During the discussion of the report, Mr Bell said he appreciated the willingness of the runanga to work with the council.

‘‘There’s been some good open communication at the moment and [I’m] really excited to see what we put together moving forward.’’

Cr Hovell suggested Cr Glenys Dickson also became a council representative on the working party given her past interest in seeing the two groups work more closely together.

Councillors agreed.