Promoting Local Ngāi Tahu Bill to Parliament

We are again promoting a Local Bill to Parliament which, if passed, will ensure mana whenua representation on the Council.

In 2019 the Local Bill with Ngāi Tahu did not pass its first reading in Parliament.

To ensure ongoing contribution and representation, in October 2020 we appointed two Mana Whenua Experts on Council. The Tumu Taiao provide advice to Council in the interests of mana whenua. However, under the Local Government Act 2002, the Tumu Taiao do not have Councillor decision-making powers to vote at Council meetings.

The two Tumu Taiao members make a valuable contribution to Council’s governance and operations, including greater efficiency in planning and consenting processes, reduced costs for both Council and consent applicants, and improved enforcement decisions.

Reinstating direct Ngāi Tahu representation 

To continue these benefits and to ensure full decision-making powers to vote, we wish to reinstate direct Ngāi Tahu representation at Council level, as happened under the previous Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Act.

“The Council has worked closely with papatipu rūnanga and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on the updated Bill,” says Chair Jenny Hughey.

“The Bill will provide for mana whenua representation around the Council table, by empowering Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to two members of the Council. This will be in addition to the elected members we currently have.

“Environment Canterbury’s reasoning in 2018 when it first promoted a Bill to Parliament has not changed, but in some ways, our reasoning is stronger with the whanaungatanga/ collaboration of the relationship between Councillors and our two Tumu Taiao.

This whanaungatanga of mana whenua around our Council table is invaluable and being able to have mana whenua on Council with voting rights is the right thing to do.”

Public Notice

The Bill can be viewed on our website from Monday 16 August 2021 until 13 working days after Canterbury enters Level 2 or lower. 

Update: 3 June 2022

The Māori Affairs Select Committee has recommended the Bill proceed to its second reading in Parliament, with some minor technical changes from what was proposed. View the Committee's report on the Bill from Parliament New Zealand.