Residents encouraged to have their say in 2022 Representation Review

13 July 2021

Ko te tikanga kia akiaki i te hapori o Rotorua whānui ki te tuku ō rātau whakaaro mo te Arotake Whakaahuahanga 2022 - Rotorua residents encouraged to have their say in Your Choice – 2022 Representation Review

Rotorua Lakes Council is encouraging residents to start thinking about representation arrangements in Rotorua as part of the upcoming representation review.

Council has launched the ‘Your Choice – 2022 Representation Review’ project to review representation arrangements ahead of next year’s local government elections.

This is a great opportunity for both Council and the community to consider if current arrangements are still fit-for-purpose, Council’s DCE - District Leadership & Democracy Oonagh Hopkins says.

“The Representation Review allows us to take a fresh look at the structure of our elected members and how they are elected. It also provides the community with the opportunity to consider if they feel they are fairly and effectively represented at the Council table, and provide feedback if they think this could be improved.

“Our current Council is one of the most diverse in the country, and we’re very proud of that, but it doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement.

“As our community continues to grow in population and diversity, it is appropriate to review our representation arrangements to ensure they’re serving their purpose,” says Ms Hopkins.

In May this year Council resolved to establish a Māori Ward/s. This will be effective from next year’s election.

The Representation Review won’t change this decision but will determine the structure of the Māori Ward/s.

“Next election we will definitely have a Māori Ward, this won’t change. However the Representation Review will determine the number of elected members we have at the table, and this will impact how many Māori seats are within that ward or wards,” Ms Hopkins explains.

“The review will determine if there is one Māori Ward or multiple wards, and if there are multiple, how many seats are within each of those wards.

“There is a lot to consider, which could result in significant changes to our representation arrangements next year. I really encourage the community to familiarise themselves with what the review is about, what we’re going to be asking for feedback about, and to have their say when the time comes.

“Local government is a democratic system and therefore it’s really important that our various communities feel their interests and voices are fairly and effectively represented at the decision-making table.”

As part of the Review, Council will be considering, and asking for feedback about:

  • How many elected members should the district have;
  • Whether elected members should be elected from across the whole district or split into wards;
  • If wards are introduced, what the boundaries should be;
  • If we have wards, how many elected members we should have per ward;
  • Whether Community Boards be retained and/or new ones introduced;
  • The number of seats for the Māori Ward(s).

The current model for the Rotorua district is one mayor, 10 councillors elected from across the district (at large), plus a Lakes Community Board and a Rural Community Board, each with 4 members elected to them (supplemented by one councillor per board, appointed by the mayor).

There will be opportunities throughout July for the community to provide feedback on representation arrangements, both online and in person at public talks that are currently scheduled for:

Everyone is welcome to attend these talks which aim to provide information about the Representation Review, and provide attendees with the opportunity to share their thoughts about representation arrangements in Rotorua. Both talks will also be livestreamed.

Feedback collected will help inform the development of a proposal for these arrangements that will go to full Council on 31 August 2021 for approval for consultation.

Once approved, the proposal will be out for public consultation from 8 September to 8 October 2021. Hearings will also be held in November for those who would like to speak to their submissions.

Council will make a final decision on its representation arrangements for the 2022 election and adopt a final proposal in November 2021.

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

More information about the Representation Review is available at rotorualakescouncil.nz/koreromai

Additional information

Ngā pātai – FAQS (see fact sheet)


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