Council adopts initial proposal for representation arrangements

Council has today adopted an initial proposal for representation arrangements to go out to public consultation, as recommended by the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee last week.

Consultation will run from 8 September until 8 October 2021 with submissions to be invited and considered in final decision-making.

The representation arrangements that are ultimately adopted will apply to the next two local elections.

The representation arrangements proposed and going out to consultation are for a mixed model membership structure with 1 Mayor and 10 councillor seats. The proposed structure is:

  • 1 Mayor elected at large
  • 1 Māori Ward with 2 seats
  • 1 General Ward with 4 seats
  • 4 “at large” seats
  • A Rotorua Lakes Community Board (4 elected members and 1 appointed councillor)
  • A Rural Community Board (4 elected members and 1 appointed councillor)

Division was called when Council voted on the recommendation today. Mayor Steve Chadwick and Councillors Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Dave Donaldson, Mercia Yates, Tania Tapsell, Trevor Maxwell and Fisher Wang voted in favour of the recommendation. Councillors Reynold MacPherson, Sandra Kai Fong, Peter Bentley and Raj Kumar voted against.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, consultation on the proposal will be largely conducted online. Council will be hosting a series of webinars where members of the public can learn more about the representation review and the initial proposal and can ask questions of the project team. Webinar dates are currently being finalised and will be shared via Council’s channels once confirmed.

Information about the representation review and the proposal is also available on Council’s consultation platform Let’s Talk – Korero Mai HERE.

Following consultation, public hearings will be held in November for those who would like to speak to their submission.

Council will then take all feedback into consideration and make a final decision on its representation arrangements for the 2022 election, adopting a final proposal in November 2021.

There will be opportunity for members of the public to make an objection or appeal that decision before the final proposal is sent to the Local Government Commission.

2022 Representation Review background information

Local authorities are required to carry out a representation review at least every six years. Council’s last representation review was undertaken in 2015 and applied to the 2016 and 2019 local elections. Council is now required to undertake a representation review for the 2022 and 2025 local elections.

On 21 May 2021, Council resolved to introduce Māori Wards following feedback from Te Tatau o te Arawa which undertook consultation with Te Arawa people, communities and entities, seeking feedback on the opportunity for Māori Wards. This decision activated the beginning of the ‘Your Choice 2022 Representation Review’.

Directly following the decision to introduce a Māori Ward, Council started a community awareness programme, providing information on what a representation review involves and the factors needing to be considered when developing a model. More than 500 community groups and/or associations were directly contacted and provided with awareness material, directing them to Council’s Let’s Talk/Korero Mai platform for more information and an opportunity to complete a survey.

There were also a number of public presentations, giving the community opportunities to learn about the representation review and ask questions.

Elected members participated in four forums to define the principles on which to structure an initial proposal for consultation.

Based on community, iwi and elected member feedback, eight different options were investigated and tested against the requirements of the Local Electoral Act 2001, with the option deemed to most fairly and effectively represent Rotorua communities approved for consultation by Council today.

You can view the proposal in the document HERE on Council’s website, which includes the principles and mechanisms that have guided this process.

The Council meeting agenda is available on Council’s website HERE

See the presentation slides on this matter, from the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee meeting last week, HERE

More information about the ‘Your Choice – 2022 Representation Review’ is available on Council’s consultation platform Let’s Talk – Korero Mai HERE

Today’s meeting was conducted online and was livestreamed. The recording is available to view HERE on Council’s YouTube channel. The representation model to take out to community consultation was the only item on the agenda today.

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