Rep­re­sen­ta­tion un­der re­view

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MARY-JO TO­HILL

Maori rep­re­sen­ta­tion in lo­cal gov­ern­ment is a big topic of de­bate ahead of the 2019 lo­cal body tri­en­nial elec­tion.

Clutha District Coun­cil will be tack­ling this ques­tion in the sixyearly elec­toral sys­tem re­view, which will in­clude dis­cus­sion about whether or not Maori rep­re­sen­ta­tion should be in­tro­duced.

The coun­cil will reach a de­ci­sion about its po­si­tion and give pre­lim­i­nary feed­back as part of a dis­cus­sion paper about other as­pects of a rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view, at the Novem­ber 2 meet­ing at Bal­clutha.

At the monthly meet­ing last Wed­nes­day, West Otago and Lawrence-Tuapeka com­mu­nity boards, as sep­a­rate en­ti­ties to the coun­cil, were also in­vited to give feed­back to as­sist with the prepa­ra­tion of the re­view doc­u­ment, dur­ing the coun­cil’s Novem­ber 11 to Jan­uary 11 feed­back pe­riod.

The com­mu­nity boards will be meet­ing in the next week to dis­cuss key is­sues of the re­view such as com­mu­nity board re­ten­tion and num­ber of mem­bers and coun­cil­lors, along with whether or not coun­cil­lors should be elected from a ward, at large or in a mixed sys­tem.

At both com­mu­nity board meet­ings held at Ta­panui and Lawrence on Wed­nes­day, Clutha District mayor Bryan Cado­gan re­minded mem­bers that it had come down to his casting vote at the last rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view, to re­tain com­mu­nity boards.

He told West Otago mem­bers to ‘‘stick up for your­selves’’, and Lawrence-Tuapeka mem­bers to ‘‘fight for it’’, by hav­ing their say now if they wanted to keep com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and to submit on the key points, which could be vi­tal in the sub­mis­sion and ob­jec­tion process.

After the meet­ing, Cado­gan said amal­ga­ma­tion of Clutha and Southland coun­cils would def­i­nitely af­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but was not a threat in this re­view. West Otago has six com­mu­nity board rep­re­sen­ta­tives and two coun­cil­lors, while LawrenceTuapeka also has six, but only one coun­cil­lor.

A coun­cil re­port on the is­sue states un­der the present ward mem­ber­ship in the Clutha District, there is one elected mem­ber per 1245 res­i­dents.

De­clin­ing and shift­ing pop­u­la­tion within wards were fac­tors in keep­ing pop­u­la­tion equal­ity per mem­ber within the rec­om­mend range of 1120 to 1369, also re­ferred to as the plus/mi­nus 10 per cent rule.

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