Ward changes will go ahead
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.