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Māori wards. Department of Internal Affairs consultation

09 July 2021
New Zealand Government
Publication date:

Consultation on changes to Māori ward and Māori constituency processes


In February 2021, legislation was passed to repeal the binding poll provisions that prevented most councils from being able to consider establishing Māori wards. More information about the changes can be found below.

When the legislation was introduced it was announced that there would be a second stage of changes to further align the process for establishing Māori wards with the process for establishing general wards.

Public Consultation – July to August 2021
Public consultation is now open on proposed changes for aligning the processes for Māori wards and constituencies with general wards and constituencies. Consultation closes on 27 August 2021.

Councils make decisions about Māori wards and general wards in two different ways depending on what type of ward they are considering. Having two different processes can be confusing. We want to know how the separate processes can be brought closer together to make it easier for councils to make decisions about how communities are represented, and so everyone understands how the system works.

We have identified six key differences between the Māori wards and general wards process that we are consulting on:

  • The requirements for councils to consider ward systems;
  • The timing of decisions;
  • Opportunities for public input;
  • Decision-making rights and the role of the Local Government Commission;
  • How and when wards can be discontinued; and
  • The types of polls that councils can hold.

The consultation document, available in English and te reo Māori, discusses these differences in detail.

We want to know whether you think the six key differences should be addressed, and if so, how. Your feedback will help to determine how the law is improved.

This consultation is not about whether councils should have Māori wards, whether there should be binding polls on Māori wards, or whether there are other ways to improve Māori participation in local government. The Government has already agreed that establishing a Māori ward is a decision for councils to make. The Government now wants to improve how these decisions are made.

Changes to Māori ward and constituency processes discussion document 

Department of Internal Affairs, July 2021

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