Frequently Asked Questions
Tēnā koutou katoa.
On 18 December 2014, Rotorua Lakes Council voted to support "in principle" a partnership model proposal presented to them by Te Arawa ('Te Arawa Partnership Model'), subject to a Special Consultative Procedure ('SCP') being undertaken.
A Statement of Proposal - Proposed Te Arawa Partnership Model has been prepared in accordance with the requirements set out in section 83 of the Local Government Act 2002 for the adoption of the Special Consultative Procedure. This statement of proposal has been made publicly available and contains information on:
- the proposed Te Arawa Partnership model and the reasons for the proposed model; and
- consideration of other reasonably practicable options; and
- a description of the consultation and submissions process including the period within which views on the proposal may be provided
Frequently Asked Questions - Proposed Te Arawa Partnership Model, provides supplementary information in relation to the Te Arawa Partnership Model, and not otherwise covered by the statement of proposal. It is also available in hardcopy.
How did the need for a partnership model with Māori come about?
1993: Te Arawa Standing Committee established to provide Māori input into council decisions and to help the council meet its legal and statutory responsibilities to Māori
2002:The Local Government Act 2002 requires councils to consider and promote the current and future well-being of communities. It also introduced new responsibilities and opportunities for engagement and cooperation between councils and Māori.
2009-2012: Concerns expressed at varying times by Te Arawa about the effectiveness of the then committee and council practices around matters in which Māori had interests.
2010:Human Rights Commission report Māori Representation in Local Government: The Continuing Challenge recommends that discussions should take place between councils and Iwi about Māori seats and Māori representation prior to the next representation review (for Rotorua this is in 2015 -2016 term).See: Maori Representation in Local Government - The Continuing Challenge (PDF 640KB)
2012: The Environment Court rules against Council and states the need for the council to improve iwi consultation and involvement.
Early 2013: Decision taken to undertake independent Iwi communication audit and to review Te Arawa Standing Committee
2013: Initial findings of the audit and review lead to the sharing of potential options to improve council's Iwi consultation and involvement.
Late 2013 to early 2014: Council adoption of Rotorua 2030 vision, including a commitment to developing a new partnership model with Te Arawa. Te Arawa Partnership portfolio established. Portfolio group decide to further explore partnership options. Hui held with Te Arawa asking them to develop a partnership model.
May 2014: Council forum, discussion on initial draft of potential models
May to December 2014: Te Arawa holds round of consultation hui with Te Arawa community to gain agreement on model
18 December 2014: Presentation of Te Arawa proposal to Council.
What is the partnership model trying to achieve?
The Statement of Proposal - Proposed Te Arawa Partnership Model discusses the model and the reasons for the proposed model.
In summary, the partnership model was developed by Te Arawa at Council's request as a means to help Council meet its Rotorua 2030 vision commitment to effectively partner with Te Arawa; to improve the delivery of Council's legal and statutory obligations to Māori; to strengthen Te Arawa's participation in council decision-making; to identify strategic opportunities to work closely together for the betterment of Rotorua district; and to build Iwi capacity and capability to partner with local government.
Could you tell us a bit more about Te Arawa?
Te Arawa refers to the members of the confederation of iwi and hapū who descend from ancestors of the Te Arawa waka.
Te Arawa iwi today descend from the following ancestors of the Te Arawa waka: Tamatekapua (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Tahu/Whaoa, Te Ure o Uenukukopako / Ngāti Whakaue and Tūhourangi / Ngāti Wāhiao), Ngātoroirangi (Ngāti Tarawhai), Tia (Tapuika) and Hei (Waitaha and Ngāti Mākino).
The traditional lands of the Te Arawa people are around the Rotorua lakes, occupying a continuous line from Maketū to Tongariro. Coastal boundaries are said to span from Papamoa to Matata.
For the purpose of the model, it encompasses the Te Arawa iwi and hapū members who reside within the Rotorua Lakes Council catchment area.
For more information on the history and make-up of Te Arawa please see: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/te-arawa
What is the legal requirement?
Councils have statutory responsibilities, particularly under the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) and the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), to engage / work closely with Māori and Tāngata Whenua (local iwi), to recognise the Treaty of Waitangi and to facilitate participation by Māori in council decision-making. This includes obligations to:
- provide opportunities and maintain effective processes for Iwi to contribute to decision-making
- consider ways in which Māori capacity can be developed for contributing to decision-making processes, and
- take an informed approach to how decision-making can benefit the Māori community's well-being
Also, according to Local Government New Zealand, apart from these requirements, there is increasing recognition that early and meaningful engagement between Council and Iwi can result in more informed decision-making, more streamlined processes, and better quality outcomes for the wider community. Māori input into council decision-making can also help councils ensure that their services are relevant to, and accessible by, Māori communities.
There is an informative FAQ resource that explains the benefits and reasons to improve Council and Māori relationships - Frequently Asked Questions on Council-Māori engagement. A resource to support councils, October 2007 - available here: http://www.lgnz.co.nz/assets/Uploads/Our-work/CME-FAQs-Maori.pdf
Why are we focusing on Te Arawa?
Council's Rotorua 2030 vision includes a commitment to effectively partner with Te Arawa. This commitment recognises the significance of Te Arawa as Tāngata Whenua within the district of Rotorua and acknowledges the generosity of Ngāti Whakaue (an iwi of Te Arawa) in gifting the land upon which much of the city of Rotorua is built and who in turn were provided with one seat (of 3) on the town board. This arrangement was settled in the Fenton Agreement of 1880.
The idea was to build an effective relationship with Te Arawa first and then look at other mechanisms to ensure mātāwaka (other Iwi members resident in Rotorua) are also effectively engaged with.
In the model, Te Arawa specifically recognises the importance of mātāwaka and makes provision for the inclusion of mātāwaka representation from year two onwards.
What is the representation proposed on Council?
The proposed Te Arawa Partnership Model establishes an independent board outside of the council to represent Te Arawa interests - members to be elected 'at large' by the Te Arawa community. The board will nominate representatives for appointment to key committees, RMA consent panels and strategic working groups.
What is of particular significance to the council is that those representatives will be assigned as follows:
- 2 reps with voting rights on the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee and the Operations & Monitoring committee
- These are key standing committees currently with a quorum of 7 and a membership comprising the mayor and all elected councillors (13 in total). The model would allow for an additional 2 members nominated by the Te Arawa board (15 in total). These committees are subordinate to Council meaning that decisions made at committee level can be reconsidered at a full council meeting.
- 1 rep (non-voting) on the CEO Performance Review Committee
- The CEO Performance Review Committee assesses the performance of the council's chief executive and currently comprises the mayor, and all elected councillors (13 in total). The model would allow for 1 additional member nominated by the Te Arawa board (14 in total).
- 1 Māori commissioner on all statutory hearing panels dealing with RMA consents
- RMA Hearing panels usually consist of 3 commissioners in total. The model would allow for 1 of the 3 commissioners to be Māori.
- Representation on strategic working groups, such as strategy portfolio steering groups, as required
- Portfolio steering groups consist of at least 7 community members, 3 council officers and 1 councillor. The model would allow for additional representation of 1 Te Arawa nominated person when required.
What do the Operations & Monitoring Committee, and Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee, do?
The purpose of the Operations and Monitoring committee is to ensure consolidated and complete reporting and monitoring of all financial and non-financial information and performance measures against the Annual Plan, Long-term Plan and strategy goal/priorities.
The purpose of the Strategy, Policy and Finance committee is to develop all strategic, policy and planning frameworks for approval by Council.
For more information on either of these committees, a copy of the relevant committee's delegations is available at http://www.rdc.govt.nz.
Only Council (which would not include Te Arawa representatives) has:
- the power to make a rate
- the power to make a bylaw
- the power to borrow money, or purchase or dispose of assets, other than in accordance with the Long-term Plan
- the power to adopt a long-term plan, annual plan, or annual report
- the power to appoint a chief executive
- the power to adopt policies required to be adopted ad consulted on under the LGA 2002 in association with the long-term plan, or developed for the purpose of the local governance statement
- the power to adopt a remuneration and employment policy
- the power to set and support strategies in measures related to emergency matters; and
- all the powers, duties and discretions under the Civil Defence Act
How will Te Arawa's nominees then be selected?
Te Arawa stated in their presentation to council that they are still to finalise exact details on aspects of their proposed model. However, they did state that they expect to use an open process to select their nominees, and selection would be merit-based (i.e. the person/s nominated will meet relevant skill and ability requirements).
What benefits will the model bring to Rotorua?
The model proposes that partnership will provide:
- Improved communication and engagement between Council and Te Arawa leading to an effective partnership based on good faith, co-operation and understanding
- The sharing of skills and knowledge to improve Māori wellbeing and development for the benefit of all who live in or visit Rotorua district
- Strategic and integrated development of Rotorua district - identifying opportunities where Council and Te Arawa can work together for the betterment of the district
- Identification of co-investment opportunities
- Increased likelihood that council will comply with legislative and statutory provisions referring to Māori, Tāngata Whenua and the Treaty of Waitangi, thus minimising the risk to the ratepayer of repeating costly mistakes resulting from non-compliance.
Are other councils doing anything similar?
Mechanisms for relationship between councils and Māori differ throughout the country and are unique to their local context. No one-size fits all.
Below are examples of how some other councils have enabled Council-Māori engagement / Māori representation.
- Napier City Councilhas one Māori appointee with full voting rights to their RMA Hearings Committee. They also have a Māori Consultative Committee which selects the appointee. The Committee has one council representative (mayor or deputy mayor) plus five mana whenua members.
- Marlborough District Councilhas one Māori appointee with full voting rights on each of the following committees - Asset and Services, Community and Finance, Environment and Regional Planning. The appointee is selected by local Iwi. They also have a Māori Committee.
- Hawke's Bay Regional Council has a Māori Committee. The chairman of the Māori Committee attends all council meetings and has speaking rights only. The Māori Committee makes recommendations to Council on matters of relevance affecting Māori people of the region and helps fulfil the Māori consultative undertaking of Council, particularly with regard to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.Hawkes Bay Regional Councilalsohas the following:
- Two Māori appointees with full voting rights to the Environmental Management Committe
- Two Māori appointees with full voting rights to the Asset Management and Biosecurity Committe
- Two Māori appointees with full voting rights to the Strategic Planning & Finance Committe
- One Māori appointee with full voting rights to the Hearings Committee
- One Māori appointee with full voting rights to Full Council.
Appointees are selected by the Māori Committee. The Chair of the Māori Committee sits on full Council.
- Wairoa District Council has one Māori appointee with full voting rights on their Resource Management Committee. They also have a Māori Standing Committee which selects the appointee. The committee representation comprises nine from Iwi (no less than seven), the mayor ex-officio and two councillors nominated by Council but agreed to by tāngata whenua.
- Waipa District Council has one Māori appointee with full voting rights on both their Strategic Policy and Planning Committee and Regulatory Committee. The appointee is selected by Ngā Iwi Toopu o Waipa. They also have a Māori Standing Committee, which is made up of eleven Iwi and six council representatives.
- New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) has a Komiti Māori sub-committee which enables Māori to have input into council processes by investigating and reporting on issues that may impact on Māori. It is made up of 50/50 council and Māori representation (ten members in all). On 15 April 2014 NPDC considered appointment of Iwi representatives to each standing committee - Policy, Monitoring and Regulatory. This motion was lost - 5 for and 7 against. Subsequent to this NPDC is recommending to a September Council Meeting that a Māori Ward be established.
- Bay of Plenty Regional Council has Māori seats. In October 2001 this was the first Council to have Māori seats with the passing of a local bill authorising the establishment of three Māori seats. Since then the Local Electoral Act 2001 has been amended to provide communities with the option of creating Māori wards. They also have a Māori Committee which has some delegated authority to approve actions for enhancing Māori capacity. This seems to be through the provision of funding for environmental management plans.
- Waikato Regional Council has Māori seats/wards. In October 2011 the Council voted to establish two Māori seats in time for the 2013 election. This was done through the Local Electoral Act rather than special empowering legislations.
- Northland Regional Council has one seat for Māori interests on its Environmental Management Committee. The nomination process has been agreed to between Council and regional Iwi authorities (chairs and CEOs). Sub-committees have been established under the umbrella of the Environmental Management Committee and all have Māori representation. The council also has the recently established Tai Tokerau Māori Committee.
If current Councillors aren't representing Te Arawa interests, why can't Te Arawa put people up to represent them on Council?
Current Councillors were not elected as representatives of any particular genealogical or ethnic group and are required to represent the best interests of the wider community.
There are considerations over and above the right of people to stand for, and be elected to, Council. Council have a legal requirement to engage / work closely with Māori and Tāngata Whenua (local iwi), to recognise the Treaty of Waitangi and to facilitate participation by Māori in council decision-making processes. Council has also given a commitment to a more effective partnership with Te Arawa as part of the Rotorua 2030 vision.
Te Arawa presented their model as the means by which they believe they can better partner with Council and therefore be better represented, and/or better participate in council decision-making processes.
If Te Arawa representatives are appointed to Committees, who are they accountable to?
All committee members are accountable to Full Council. Only Full Council is able to appoint representatives on to committees, and provided standing orders are followed, are able to overturn committee decisions or, if unhappy with the committee performance, discharge or reconstitute a committee.
In the proposed model, Te Arawa representatives will be nominated by the Te Arawa board and they will have reporting accountability to that board.
Councillors can get voted out at elections, what about the Te Arawa representatives?
Te Arawa representatives proposed for appointment by the Council on to committees would not become Councillors.
What does the proposed model offer that wasn't offered by the existing Te Arawa Standing Committee (TASC)?Why hasn't TASC worked?Why wasn't it made public that TASC wasn't working?
As included in Q1 of the FAQs, Te Arawa had been raising the ineffectiveness of TASC with Council since 2009. Issues raised included (but are not limited to):
- Unclear purpose and functions
- Lack of clear connection with stakeholders
- Lack of control over meeting agenda and decision making
- Recommendations not being listened to
- No budget to effectively carry out work
The 2012 Environment Court ruling against Council also evidenced that current Iwi consultation mechanisms did not meet Council needs.
There was media coverage of both of these issues in recent years.
Was the model developed by the Te Arawa Standing Committee and Council Staff?
The members of the Te Arawa Standing Committee from 2014 have led the development of the model. Other than providing relevant reports and other information about Māori participation in Council decision-making processes to Te Arawa, Council staff did not assist in the development of the model.
Why wasn't the wider public consulted before the proposal was put to Council?
It was not until 18 December 2014, that the proposed Te Arawa Partnership Model was presented to Council. Council's 10-3 votes on that day in support of the model 'in principle'- subject to a Special Consultative Procedure then enabled wider public consultation on the model to occur.
Was Council already aware of the proposed Te Arawa model when it decided against establishing Maori wards last year?
Work to develop a Te Arawa partnership proposal was underway when Council decided to retain the existing representation system for the 2016 elections. The fact there was a partnership model being developed was the rationale behind not making any representation change at this time.
It was resolved at a full council meeting on 25 September 2014: That Council retain the existing representation system for the 2016 elections i.e. no Maori wards, and publicly notify the public's right to demand a poll.
Council commissioned a report to provide Te Arawa with partnership model options. Did Council already know what the proposed model was when it decided against establishing Maori wards last year?
Council did not know what Te Arawa would put forward as a proposed model until it was presented to Council in December.
In October 2013 the Te Arawa Standing Committee decided to delay elections to focus on a future model for Te Arawa representation and a month later decided to form a collective body and vision to that end. In January 2014 a hui with Te Arawa stakeholders sought support for and feedback on the review and resolved to draft a review plan and take it out to iwi.
At the same time, Council engaged Mr Tama Hovell, Solicitor of Atkins Holmes Majurey to undertake a Cultural Engagement Audit of Council's engagement with Iwi/Māori as a result of the Rotoiti/Rotoma sewerage scheme Environment Court decision. Given that the development of a Partnership Model with Te Arawa would be a positive step going forward in regards to Council's engagement with Iwi/Māori Mr Hovell was asked to postpone the Audit and to instead draft model options for a Te Arawa Partnership Model that could enable an enduring, good faith and genuine partnership with Council.
This report was then passed on to Te Arawa.
Could council decide against all the options in the SOP and go with another model put forward during consultation on this SOP?
Yes. If after deliberating on submissions that Council determines to support an alternative model instead of the proposed Te Arawa Partnership Model, another round of consultation (this time with the alternative model as the proposed model) will be necessary due to the significance of the issue.
How can 2 voices in a pool of 15 on a committee constitute partnership?
The model was presented to council by Te Arawa representatives on 18 December 2014 as a model that Te Arawa believes will help achieve effective partnership between Council and Iwi.