SUBMISSION RE: REPRESENTATION REVIEW
FROM: T.M. Magill, 421 Harwoods Road, R.D.2., Tirau
1. The Board supports the continuation of the Mayor (at large) and 10 elected Councillors: (a) So that residents/ratepayers have an equal chance of being able to access one or more of their Councillors and all Councillors have about the same community workload. [i.e. as per Council recommendation made on 22/4/2015] (b) In addition (by retaining a Council of 10), encouragement ought to be available for gender balance and age balance on the Council table, i.e. so that it should encourage people to make themselves available for election other than in their retirement years, i.e. a lesser number would increase Councillors’ (currently with a full-time job) already high workload. 2. The Board supports the continuation of the existing Three Ward Structure: (a) The current three (3) Wards meet the legislative structure for compliance variation on the population mixes for each Ward. (b) The Council recommendation to move two a Two Ward (i.e. North Ward and South Ward) structure was predicated on a reduction of Councillors from 10 to eight – (that is not happening). (c) As Council has recommended that
Council Numbers remain at ten (10) – there is no necessity to look at a Two Ward system. (d) There is a real danger that either the Putaruru Ward or the Tirau Ward could (under a North Ward system) have no ongoing representation (i.e. all four Councillors from Tirau or all four from Putaruru or variation on this) which would give either Tirau or Putaruru either an over or under representation. (e) The current Ward structure on the other hand gives: • One Councillor from Tirau – i.e.
one every 2,210 of population • Three Councillors from Putaruru –
i.e. one every 2,150 of population That is a very fair and almost equal representation rate and aligns also comparatively with the Tokoroa representation rate. (f) The Board believes that the (urban) populations of Tirau and Putaruru are distinctively different with Putaruru being a town service centre and Tirau being a district visitor destination centre. Accordingly, the Board believes the synergies and the aspirations of the respective (urban) centres do not align well and would be better served by elected Councillors as currently. (g) There are no cost savings to South Waikato District Council by reducing the Wards as recommended. 3. Abolition of the Tirau Community Board: (a) The Board believes that this is definitely not in the best interests of either Tirau, including its rural communities, or the South Waikato District Council. (b) Whereas the urban communities of Tokoroa and Putaruru have “community” groups assisting the respective CBD areas, Tirau has no other “mouthpiece”. (c) That is not to say a business association or similar could be set up by interested parties but the Board is (objectively) of the view that there is little likelihood (or desire) for such an organisation to be established and even if established, there would be much uncertainty as to its endurance over time (unlike a Board on a three year election cycle). (d) The Board, on the other hand, costs $13,000.00 per annum to operate and with elected personnel will always be available to its community of interest. This expenditure is not “out of line” to community groups within Putaruru and Tokoroa (i.e. financial support) on a comparative basis. (e) The $13,000.00 cost of the Community Board is a “targeted rate” – only payable by the total (rural and urban) ratepayers of the Tirau Ward. (f) The Board is ward based (rural and urban) and therefore is not a function of a specific (individual) group (e.g. business association or a retailers association) and is therefore widely representative of the whole Ward. (g) Tirau does not have any ratepaper assisted “social” or “community type” groups which are (partially) funded by Council [unlike Putaruru or Tokoroa]. 4. Secede from South Waikato District Council (a) Since the recommendation of the proposed Council Restructuring has been available there has been a very significant expression of opinion from both rural and urban residents of the Tirau Ward that their interests (from a local government perspective) lie to the North and its natural affiliation and community of interest is with the Matamata Ward of the Matamata Piako District Council. (b) The Board is therefore, in its opinion, obliged to advise Council of this prospect as part of these Submissions – in order to work through the democratic processes. (c) The Board considers however that if its submissions under 1, 2 and 3 above are acceptable to Council then these issues may likely be quelled and the public disquiet could possibly be softened to the extent that the Board could reconsider the issue of secession from the South Waikato District Council.