For those of you in the western Bay of Plenty district (e.g. Katikati, Te Puke, Maketu and Waihi beach) you will be aware that residents have been asked to vote on whether or not to establish a Māori ward at the Western Bay of Plenty District Council (WBOPDC).

What does this have to do with social services I hear you ask?  Many of you will see on a daily basis the results of Māori faring less well on pretty much any measure you care to mention – health, abuse, violence, addictions, housing, equity etc.

Guaranteeing a Māori voice around the Council table is one way of empowering tangata whenua to tackle these issues.  The WBOPDC- Tauranga Moana/Te Arawa ki Takutai Partnership Forum iwi and hapu members strongly endorse the establishment of a Māori ward.  For more information click here.

As much as anything this speaks to equity, SociaLink believes that we do not all start on a level playing field, so rather than treating everyone the same (equality) we need to be aiming for equity in outcomes.  This is perhaps best depicted by the following diagram on the right.

For these reasons SociaLink strongly supports a Māori ward.  I encourage you to learn about Māori wards and spread the words to your service users, and most importantly, vote by 19 May 2018.