Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill

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5 May 2022

Rotorua representation model for 2022 elections confirmed

Rotorua now has certainty about the local representation model that will apply to this year’s local elections following the Maori Affairs Select Committee’s decision to pause the Rotorua District Council (Local Representation) Bill process.

The Bill seeks a preferred local representation model for Rotorua that current legislation does not allow for and if successful, needed to be in place by June to be implemented for this year’s local elections.

The pause in the Bill process, which was requested by Rotorua Lakes Council, means that is no longer possible and the

5 May 2022

Rotorua representation model for 2022 elections confirmed

Rotorua now has certainty about the local representation model that will apply to this year’s local elections following the Maori Affairs Select Committee’s decision to pause the Rotorua District Council (Local Representation) Bill process.

The Bill seeks a preferred local representation model for Rotorua that current legislation does not allow for and if successful, needed to be in place by June to be implemented for this year’s local elections.

The pause in the Bill process, which was requested by Rotorua Lakes Council, means that is no longer possible and the model that will be used for this year’s elections will be the model determined recently by the Local Government Commission:

  • A Maori ward with 3 elected members
  • A general ward with 6 elected members
  • A rural ward with 1 elected member (the ward covering the same area as the existing Rotorua Rural Community Board)
  • A rural community board and a lakes community board, each with 4 elected members

The Mayor will be elected at-large (ie all voters will be able to vote for their preferred mayoral candidate).

10 councillors elected from across 3 wards.

What does this mean for voters?

  • Those on the Maori electoral roll will be able to vote for 3 Maori ward candidates and mayor. Maori on the Maori electoral roll and living in the rural ward will not be able to vote for a rural ward candidate.
  • Those living in the rural ward and on the general roll will be able to vote for 1 rural candidate and mayor.
  • Those on the general roll who are not rural or on the Maori roll will be able to vote for 6 councillor candidates and a mayor.

Rotorua Lakes Council will be undertaking an awareness and education campaign to inform voters and potential candidates ahead of the election in October.

See more about the Local Government Commission’s determination HERE

Rotorua Lakes Council sought a pause in the local Bill process aimed at achieving a preferred representation model to enable time to provide additional advice to the Committee following concerns raised by the Attorney-General. See more about that HERE

The Māori Affairs Committee, by majority, decided this week to pause the hearings of oral submissions that were scheduled for Friday, 6 May 2022.

The committee says it is awaiting further advice about the concerns raised by the Attorney-General regarding the bill’s consistency with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. Upon receipt of advice, the committee will determine its next steps.

Find out more about the Bill and the process involved HERE

View the Attorney-General’s report referred to HERE

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28 April 2022

Statement from Mayor Chadwick on pausing of Local Bill process

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says today’s decision of Council to support a pause of the Māori Affairs Committee process considering the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill is a sensible one.

“This will allow council officers to work with legal advisors, parliamentary and government advisors, on strengthening the policy work of the Local Bill,” Mayor Chadwick said following Council’s confidential discussion on the matter this morning.

“I will now be writing to the committee clerk seeking the pause, but given the public interest in this process, I am making the decision public now.

“We have always said the Bill is about the right way forward for Rotorua and have always been committed to working through the parliamentary process with Central Government. It is an important discussion and it is important that we get it right for Rotorua.

“We urge a review of the Electoral Act that has resulted in the confusion and anxiety some of our community is currently expressing.

“Delays were always anticipated and the Local Bill states that if not passed in time for the 2022 local election, Council will use the representation model approved by the Local Government Commission following the Representation Review for this year’s election.

“The pause enables everyone to get the discussion around the Bill right. Rotorua is seeking a Local Bill for election arrangements here because we have moved on from what the Local Electoral Act provides for our community. We want all our votes to count towards representatives at our council table.”

Statement from Labour MP & Bill Sponsor Tamati Coffey:

“I support the Rotorua District Council’s decision to press pause on their Bill in order to review the Bill of Rights analysis,” Tamati Coffey said.

“As sponsor of this Local Bill, I will be seeking the support from the Maori Affairs Committee to suspend submission hearings while possible amendments are being considered.

“As is standard with a Local Bill, which I was sponsoring on behalf of the Rotorua District/Lakes Council, a Bill of Rights analysis is not undertaken until the Bill appears at Select Committee, as opposed to all other Bills where it occurs before the First Reading.

“Once receiving the advice from the Attorney General, it was clear that more information was needed, and a suspension will now be undertaken to respond to the Attorney General’s Bill of Rights analysis and consider other concerns this Bill raises.

“Labour would not have supported the Bill further in its current form. The pause allows for the Council to work through the options and decide whether the Bill could continue in an amended form.”

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The Māori Affairs Select Committee conducted the first round of hearings, which were conducted in two sessions.

  • Session one with Māori Affairs Select Committee A can be viewed HERE.
  • Session two with Māori Affairs Select Committee B can be viewed HERE.

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The Bill was introduced to Parliament on Tuesday 29 March and passed its first reading on Wednesday 6 April. Recordings of the discussion around the Bill and can be viewed HERE. The Bill is now with the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

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Last year, as part of the Your Choice – 2022 Representation Review, Rotorua Lakes Council voted to seek legislative change to enable a preferred representation model to be adopted at the earliest possible time (learn more about this decision HERE).

Council’s preferred model for best representing the needs of Rotorua in accordance with the principles of the Local Government Act, the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Rotorua Township (Fenton) Agreement is not permitted under current legislation.

Rotorua Lakes Council is now promoting a local Bill that seeks an exemption from current legislative requirements that prevent Council adopting the preferred model.

The Bill is available for inspection on Council’s website, at Rotorua Library, and in Council’s Civic Centre building until 23 March 2022. The Bill will then be submitted to Parliament with the intention for it to become law.

The key features of the Bill include:

  • The Act will apply for two general elections following the Act coming into force. It is intended to come into force by May 2021 so that it can apply to the 2022 election. However, if the Act does not come into force before 1 June 2022, it will not come into force until after the 2022 election and will apply to the following two elections. This is because the election process commences well in advance of election day. The Council team will be working hard to ensure a swift processing of the bill by Central Government.

  • The Act confirms the decisions that have been made by Council as part of its preferred electoral model. This includes:
  1. A Maori ward, called Te Ipu Wai Taketake ward, will elect three members;
  2. A General ward, called Te Ipu Wai Auraki ward, will elect three members;
  3. Four members will be elected by the electors of the district as a whole (“At large”);
  4. The Rotorua Lakes Community Board will be formed by four members elected by the Rotorua Lakes Community, and one member appointed by Council;
  5. The Rotorua Rural Community Board will be formed by four members elected by the Rotorua Rural Community, and one member appointed by Council.
  • If the Act comes into force before 1 June 2022, the determination made by Council on 19 November 2021 to adopt the interim electoral model (1-1-8) will be withdrawn and effectively replaced by the 3-3-4 model enabled under the bill.

  • Any person who wishes to object to the bill will have a full opportunity to present a submission to a select committee after the first reading of the bill in the House.

  • If the bill is passed, following two general elections, the Act may be extended by the Governor General. This will only occur if Council has resolved to continue with the electoral model contained in the Act, and has given public notice of its intention to do so.

  • The Act does not affect any co-governance arrangements between Council and iwi, including Te Tatau o Te Arawa Charitable Trust.

The Bill has been available for inspection for the required 15 working days (2 - 23 March 2022), the following process will initiate:

  1. The Bill will be submitted to the Office of the Clerk, with a declaration from the Chief Executive that the public notice requirements have been met;
  2. The Bill is then introduced to the House by a Member of Parliament;
  3. The Bill will receive its first reading, and will be referred for consideration by the select committee (public submissions will be heard by way of hearings at this stage);
  4. Once the select committee’s report is available, the Bill receives its second and third readings;
  5. The Bill is then prepared for assent by the Governor General and, once it has received assent, becomes an Act of Parliament.

View the full Bill HERE.

Page last updated: 09 May 2022, 10:23 AM