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FNDC councillors back Gaza ceasefire, Māori wards

Far North District Council has taken a stand on two high-profile issues at an extraordinary council meeting on Thursday.

Elected members passed a motion calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza while also condemning violence and terror against civilians on both sides of the conflict.

Around 60 members of the public turned out to support the motion tabled by Far North Mayor Kahika Moko Tepania. It called for an immediate ceasefire to “stop the killing of innocent people and children in the region and endorse a letter to be sent to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to show our support and call for peace”.

Councillors also agreed to call for the immediate release of all hostages and to allow international aid to be allowed into Gaza.

At the same meeting, councillors agreed to oppose the Coalition Government’s bid to disestablish Māori wards and sign a letter by Local Government New Zealand, along with many other councils in Aotearoa, asking the Government to rethink its policy.

The Government is proposing legislation that will require the Far North District Council to either disestablish its Ngā Tai o Tokerau Māori ward or hold a binding poll of all Far North electors to disestablish or retain the ward at the 2025 local elections.

FNDC has already resolved not to disestablish its Māori ward, and it estimates that a binding poll alongside the local elections could cost up to $10,000.

“Signing this joint letter will show sector-wide support alongside the other 44 councils that have established Māori wards or constituencies who will also be affected by the proposed legislative change,” Kahika Tepania said in his notice of motion.

Caption: A large group attended the council’s extraordinary meeting to support calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.