The Local Government Commission met with the council (mayor, deputy mayor, some councillors and chief executive) and those that had appealed/objected to the council’s final representation arrangements proposal at Hauraki District Council on Tuesday afternoon (19 Feb). The Commission gave all attendees the opportunity to present their case and will announce their determination by 10 April.
One, three, four, two…how many Councillors should represent you?
Our initial proposal...
was to reduce the number of councillors in the District from 12 to 9.
the general view of those who gave us their feedback was that a reduction in numbers from 12 to 9 councillors would not meet the representation needs of our communities.
we’ve taken that on board and amended our proposal to go with the status quo, which is to have one mayor (elected by the whole district) and 12 councillors; four representing the Paeroa ward, four representing the Waihi Ward and four representing the Plains Ward, with no community boards.
As the amended proposal will likely fall just outside the allowable population range for the Waihi Ward, the matter will then go to the Local Government Commission to make the final decision on how it thinks our councillor numbers and wards should look for the next two elections.
Council Representation Review
Every six years we have to look at the number of Councillors and wards we have in our district. This is to make sure we have the right amount of people around the council table to fairly and effectively represent the number of people that live in each of our communities. We also have to decide whether we should have community boards.
How are we looking right now?
At the moment we have one mayor (who is elected by the whole district) and 12 councillors - four representing the Waihi Ward, four representing the Paeroa Ward and four representing the Plains Ward. We do not have any community boards.
As things stand, councillor numbers don’t quite stack up in the Waihi Ward. We also have more councillors overall than most other councils in the country when our population is taken into account.
Legislation says the population of each ward, divided by the number of councillors in that ward, should fall within plus or minus 10 percent of the total population of the district divided by the total number of councillors in the district. This is called the +/- 10% rule.
When we crunch the numbers, the Waihi Ward falls ever so slightly outside of this rule (by about 69 people!).
One of the options we looked at to comply with this rule was the possibility of changing ward boundaries. For example, shifting the Paeroa Ward boundary to include some, or all, of the Waikino community.
We held a meeting in the Victoria Hall, Waikino, on Monday 18 June to see what our communities thought of this option, and heard very strongly that you were completely opposed to this idea. So this option has now been ruled out.
Initially we proposed to have one mayor (who is elected by the whole district) and nine councillors - three representing the Waihi Ward, three representing the Paeroa Ward and three representing the Plains Ward – and to continue with no community boards, for the next two Council elections.
However, after taking on board community feedback we have amended our proposal to go with the status quo which is to have one mayor (elected by the whole district) and 12 councillors; four representing the Paeroa ward, four representing the Waihi Ward and four representing the Plains Ward, with no community boards.
Community boards act as an advocate for the interests of a community. They engage with community organisations and special interest groups and make recommendations to Council.
You can read more about how community boards work at www.lgnz.co.nz/nzs-local-government/community-boards
We used to have community boards but they eventually disbanded themselves. Now we have ward committees made up of the elected members from each ward that essentially do what community boards would do if we had them.
In a small council like ours, where elected members already work closely with community organisations and special interest groups, the Council feels the current structure covers community needs.
However, this is just an initial proposal and before it goes any further, we want to know what you think.