What are Māori seats?

    ‘Māori seats’ refer to designated seats on Auckland Council's Governing Body. 

    These seats are: 

    • for Māori ward councillors 
    • elected by those on the Māori electoral roll. 

    They are also referred to as 'Māori representation' or 'Māori wards'.

    Māori seats may either be filled through:

    • election
    • appointment. 

    The different ways that Māori seats could be established are called ‘models’. 

    What is the parliamentary model?

    The 'parliamentary model' is the model that is possible under current legislation.

    This model would allow for either one or two elected Māori seats on the Governing Body.

    These seats would be:

    • designated (chosen for a specific purpose) for Māori ward councillors 
    • elected by those on the Māori electoral roll. 

    This model is similar to how Māori parliamentary electorates are established. The number of seats is calculated using a formula in the Local Electoral Act 2001(External link)

    What is the Royal Commission model?

    'Royal Commission' refers to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance(External link).

    In 2009 the Royal Commission investigated Auckland's local government arrangements and made recommendations.

    The Royal Commission model is another way that Māori seats might be selected for the Governing Body. 

    It includes: 

    • two elected Māori seats
    • one appointed Māori seat. 

    The elected seats would be:

    • designated for Māori ward councillors
    • elected by those on the Māori electoral roll. 

    The appointed seat would be filled by a mana whenua (Māori with ancestral authority over a specific area of land) representative. This model would need new legislation as it is not possible under current law.

    How would appointed seats be determined?

    Appointed seats require a change in legislation. There are a number of ways that seats could be appointed, such as through:

    • a selection panel
    • a mana whenua (Māori with ancestral authority over a specific area of land) forum. 

    If Māori seats were to be appointed rather than elected, the appointment process would require further work between council and mana whenua and would need to be set out in new legislation.

    Would the number of Councillors change?

    If Māori seats are introduced for Auckland Council, this is likely to affect the total number of councillors. Because of the formula used under the parliamentary model, there would be a relationship between the total number of general and Māori ward councillors. You can find out more about the formula and how it is used in the consultation document.

    After a decision on Māori seats is made, we will begin a representation review to investigate the representation arrangements for the 2023 local elections.

    We have to do a representation review (where we addresses the total number of councillors for the region and the way they are elected) every six years. The next review is in 2024 whether or not Māori seats are introduced.

    Why are we consulting you about Māori seats?

    A decision on Māori seats for Auckland Council is significant.

    It is a decision about how:

    • Māori are represented in Auckland 
    • Aucklanders are represented by their Governing Body. 

    The Governing Body wants to hear from Māori and Auckland's wider public before making this decision. 

    What role does the Independent Māori Statutory Board (IMSB) play in Tāmaki Makaurau?

    The IMSB was established in 2010. This was when Auckland Council was amalgamated (the different city councils were combined into one). 

    It has a statutory (required by law) purpose and helps Auckland Council make decisions by: 

    • ensuring we meet our obligations (duties or responsibilities) under Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi 
    • promoting important issues to Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau. 

    When it was set up, the IMSB was not seen as a replacement for Māori representation on Auckland Council's Governing Body.

    How will the feedback be used?

    We will share your feedback from this consultation with the Governing Body in October 2023.

    The Governing Body will then decide whether to establish Māori seats for the 2025 local elections.

    Feedback provided through this consultation is not the only factor for consideration when making a decision. 

    It is an opportunity for Māori and the wider public to have their views heard and considered.