Dunedin councillor threatened before vote on Māori representation

Emailed threats have not dissuaded Dunedin City Council from overwhelmingly voting to bolster Māori representation around the council table.

Councillors were considering whether to allow Māori representatives on two standing committees at a full meeting of the council today.

Under the proposal, both the Infrastructure Services committee and the Planning and Services Committee would have two extra delegates, one each from Ōtākou Rūnanga and Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki Rūnanga.

Councillor Carmen Houlahan said that before today’s vote she had received a threatening email from a community board member that said “the quiet Kiwi will remember how you vote”.

“Threats like that are unacceptable and not okay – it is 2021, get with the times,” she said.

Councillor Chris Staynes said it was an “absolute red-letter day” for the council and a step towards honouring what was agreed when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

The motion was carried 14-1 and was greeted with applause and a waiata.

Lee Vandervis was the only councillor to vote against the motion.

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