Ward changes will go ahead

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By STEVE ED­WARDS

A Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil sub­mis­sion on Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view fell on deaf ears.

Af­ter hear­ing sub­mis­sions on pro­posed bound­ary changes, the WRC con­firmed it would re­duce the num­ber of gen­eral con­stituen­cies from eight to six, with 12 coun­cil­lors, and es­tab­lish two Maori con­stituen­cies with one coun­cil­lor each.

The coun­cil con­sid­ers the changes ‘‘ will en­cour­age greater par­tic­i­pa­tion in lo­cal democ­racy, en­sure fair and ef­fec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion and bet­ter align with both lo­cal coun­cils and the re­gional coun­cil’s own river man­age­ment zones’’.

A new gen­eral con­stitu- ency called Wai­hou will be formed by join­ing Mata­mata-Pi­ako, South Waikato and part of the North Waikato con­stituen­cies with the aim of bet­ter sup­port­ing river catch­ment man­age­ment.

The Maori seat cov­er­ing Mata­mata-Pi­ako, ThamesCoro­man­del, Hau­raki, Waipa, Otoro­hanga, Wait­omo, South Waikato and parts of Taupo and Ro­torua dis­tricts will be called Nga Tai ki Uta.

Mata­mata- Pi­ako Mayor Hugh Ver­coe, who pre­sented a sub­mis­sion on be­half of his coun­cil, said the Maori seats go back to a de­ci­sion made by the WRC in 2006. ‘‘There was not a lot of pub­lic­ity.’’

The changes in gen­eral con­stituen­cies means Mata­mata-Pi­ako and South Wai- kato lose their re­spec­tive seats on the coun­cil.

‘‘With Mata­mata-Pi­ako’s pop­u­la­tion, the two Wai­hou rep­re­sen­ta­tives could both come from the cen­tre of the area,’’ said Mr Ver­coe. ‘‘South Waikato and Hau­raki could have no-one.’’

Mean­while, in its own rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view, the MPDC is not look­ing at in­tro­duc­ing Maori seats (the pub­lic is now be­ing con­sulted on a coun­cil pro­posal to dis­es­tab­lish community boards).

The Te Manawhenua Forum, an iwi sub­com­mit­tee of coun­cil, is call­ing for two iwi mem­bers to be ap­pointed to the MPDC.

Mr Ver­coe said this pro­posal fell out of the time­frame for the cur­rent re­view and would be con­sid­ered for the 2013 elec­tions.

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