Taurima challenges District Councils to build local economies with Māori

By Talisa Kupenga

Māori Party candidate Shane Taurima has challenged NZ District Councils to give Māori stronger positions at local government level given their growing influence in key sectors. 

A challenge to the country's Mayors to build stronger partnerships with Maori and to engage through more than just a box-ticking exercise.

Maōri Party Candidate Shane Taurima says, "besides Māori voters, I'm talking about mana whenua, hapū and iwi groups in these areas who should have a voice at the table."

As well as being a community voice councils own a broad range of community assets worth more than $120 billion. Including most of New Zealand's road network, the country's water and waste water networks, libraries, recreation and community facilities.

Taurima says he was suprised to see when it came to economic development the LGNZ manifesto made no mention of Māori or iwi.  

"I want to know why that is given that we now have settlement money from over the years and the Māori economy has grown to be worth billions."

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says, "There is a ground swell of support here and actually LGNZ supports what Shane said."

The Māori Economy is now worth $50 billion. Yule says relationships have changed now iwi have their settlements and have a clear direction of where they want to go.

Taurima says "it's a new world and Māori are here to give their support and work together."

Yule says, "I'll be encouraging the members to grab hold of that and make true partnerships out of these things because we can make a real difference together."

Yule expects significant changes to happen in as soon as five years.