Auckland Council is proposing to introduce designated Māori seats from the 2025 local elections onwards. There was a brief and poorly advertised submissions process through which a majority of respondents opposed the proposal, but it appears likely that AC will still proceed with them. At the end of this month the councillors will vote on the matter. Will you take a few minutes out of your day to let them know they should vote against it?


There are a number of reasons for opposing the introduction of seats based on ethnicity and chief among them is the fact that there are already several mechanisms for improving Māori representation in decision-making;

  • The Independent Māori Statutory Board appoints up to two members to the committees of the Governing Body. The Board members have voting rights on most of these committees despite not being elected roles. Even supporters of differentiated representation must be able to see that this is double-dipping.
  • There is also the The Tāmaki Makaurau Mana Whenua Forum, which is made up of representatives of the 19 iwi and hapū in Auckland. The forum partners with the Crown and Auckland Council on national and region-shaping matters that require a collective Māori voice.
  • Eight co-governance bodies, such as the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.
  • Provision for formal Relationship Agreements with individual iwi.
  • Additionally, there is a Māori department within Auckland Council - Ngā Mātārae (Māori Outcomes Directorate). Its role is to support the council group (including council- controlled organisations) to deliver on Māori outcomes. 
  • Furthermore, when a resource consent application is deemed to affect mana whenua values, consent applicants are expected to consult with iwi authorities. 

It is not true that Māori are not being adequately represented or consulted. By adding designated Māori seats on top of the existing mechanisms, Auckland Council are doubling (perhaps tripling) up on representation for one group of people.


The establishment of Māori seats on Auckland Council would further entrench the unequal application of voting rights and representation. Separating Aucklanders into Māori and “everyone else” is divisive and damaging to cohesion in our society. Communities thrive when everyone gets a fair go and has the same rights under the law. The incoming Government is yet to be formed, but National, Act, and New Zealand First have all expressed opposition to co-governance and commitment to equality before the law.



It is fundamental to the job of councillors that they should make every effort to make decisions to the benefit of all. It is wrong to suggest that they can only represent people of the exact same demographic as them. They should make decisions on behalf of and for young and old, poor and rich, males and females, religious and non-religious, and people from every ethnic background. Separate Māori seats will result in the election of councillors who are accountable only to Māori, with no obligation to consider the interests of the wider community.



Not only are Māori disproportionately over-represented in local government, a quick look at Parliament shows that Māori have been very successful at earning seats in our central government. For example, at the 2023 election, Act, Greens, New Zealand First, and Te Pati Māori all had Māori leaders/co-leaders.



We have drafted a template letter that you are welcome to copy and paste into your own email to Auckland Councillors. Send it as it is or make your own edits.

Dear Councillors,

I am writing to you to ask that you vote against the introduction of Māori seats to Auckland Council when you consider the matter later this month.

Creating these seats would result in significant doubling up of representation and decision-making for one group of Aucklanders and I fundamentally believe that we must be equal under the law. 

The main reasons I oppose the proposal for these seats are:

  • Auckland Council already has several mechanisms for increasing representation and consultation with Māori, including: The Independent Māori Statutory Board, The Tāmaki Makaurau Mana Whenua Forum, co-governance bodies like Tūpuna Maunga Authority, iwi Relationship Agreements, Ngā Mātārae.
  • I believe councillors are capable of representing all Aucklanders. They aren’t restricted to only thinking of people exactly like them and consider the needs of people different to their background every day.
  • Everyone should have equal voting rights. The concept of ‘one person, one vote’ is simple and we should do everything we can to preserve democratic norms such as this. 
  • Following the election, the new Government is yet to be formed, however National, Act, and New Zealand First all ran on platforms opposing co-governance and promising unity and equality before the law. 
  • Māori have been successful in their own right at winning political seats at local and central government levels. It is wrong to think that they need extra assistance when the record shows that proportionate to the population, Māori are overrepresented. For example, at the 2023 election, Act, Greens, New Zealand First, and Te Pati Māori all had Māori leaders/co-leaders. 

Auckland is one of the most multicultural cities in the Southern Hemisphere and rather than moving away from equal representation, we should be ensuring that our elected officials are people prepared to represent us all.

I appreciate you considering the above points and hope you will vote for equal rights.

Yours sincerely,