Representation under review
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.