More than 60 percent of voters and ratepayers in the Western Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, and Palmerston North disagree with a proposal by their councils to set up Maori wards, a poll commissioned by equality group Hobson’s Pledge revealed today.
The poll, conducted by market research company PureProfile, surveyed by email 340 people in the three areas in the second week of last month. There is no sign of any other poll on this question in those areas.
It found that in the Western Bay of Plenty area, a majority of 59.7% disagreed with the Maori ward proposal, with only 9.7% supporting the move, and the remainder with no opinion.
In Palmerston North, a majority of 63% disagreed with Maori wards, 5% supported the move, and the remainder with no opinion.
In Manawatu, a majority of 63% disagreed with Maori wards, 12% in support, with the others having no opinion.
Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said that councils did not undertake any public consultation on the matter whatsoever before making their decisions.
“Had they bothered to consult the people they are supposed to represent, they would have seen the huge opposition to this separatist policy,” Dr Brash said.
Hobson’s Pledge is supporting petitions to trigger a vote on Maori ward proposals in Western Bay of Plenty, Palmerston North, Manawatu, Whakatane, and Kaikoura.
“We are optimistic that we will receive the necessary number of signatures required to force referenda in all areas by the due date 21st February,” he said.
“We want every ratepayer opposed to race-based policies to sign the petition,” he said.
“We believe separate Maori wards have no place. It fractures the fabric of our society and will end up dividing neighbour from neighbour,” Dr Brash said.
Hobson's Pledge is supporting a well-organised and well-advanced signature-collecting drive in all five districts.
People opposed to Maori wards are already hard at work gathering signatures, and in all five areas flyers with space for seven signatures are being delivered this week.
If you live in Kaikoura, Manawatu, Palmerston North, Western Bay of Plenty, or Whakatane, and you want to sign the petition and collect signatures and don’t receive a flyer, you can go online to the Hobson’s Pledge website at www.hobsonspledge.nz and download a copy of the petition form for your area.