Recently council voted to change the make up of councillors in the next election. We voted to reduce the numbers of councillors from thirteen to nine. The mayor would bring the number of our council to ten. We added three community boards; one in the East, one in the West and one in the city. The other change is an at large election, meaning that there will be no wards and the entire district will vote for all councillors.
Under the old model we were legally obliged to draw boundaries based on population. This meant that in order to retain the old model we had to include areas like Hexton and Wainui in with the coast just to make the numbers work. Any sensible person can immediately see that those areas don’t have anything to do with each other therefore defeating the purpose.
However, Community Board boundaries can be drawn based on communities of interest. The three identified areas are all distinct and unique communities of interest and we can draw those boundaries to suit our district. The people inside those respective board boundaries will get to vote for their board.
The East Coast community board will be made up of two members from the Matakaoa-Waiapu area and two members from the Tawhiti-Uawa area. The Western Rural community board will be made up of two members from the Taruheru-Patutahi area and two members from the Waipaoa area.
I think our councillors being voted at-large is great. There are many people in our community who feel like they belong to multiple areas of our district so they can now vote and also run for the many different people from our many different areas. We have always said we are district councillors, the district can now vote accordingly.
This won’t be a silver bullet that will suddenly solve our representation issues, but I think it’s the best decision for our region. I am in favour of this new model. No more tinkering. Wider inclusion of our district voice. A more efficient council.
This model of representation will be open for submissions for one month. If you want to appeal it or object to it then I implore you to submit. In the event that appeals or objections are received, the Local Government Commission will determine any matters arising. For transparencies sake the determination of those submissions does not sit with councillors.