Sta­tus quo for coun­cil num­bers

Waihi Leader - - News - By ME­LANIE CAMOIN news@wai­hileader.co.nz

Hau­raki District Coun­cil has voted for the sta­tus quo in its rep­re­sen­ta­tion re­view.

Coun­cil has amended its ini­tial pro­posal, which was to re­duce the num­ber of ward coun­cil­lors across the district.

The 12 coun­cil­lors, with four on each ward — Waihi, Paeroa and The Plains — were to be re­duced to nine with the mayor re­main­ing.

The coun­cil has re­ceived 32 writ­ten and on­line sub­mis­sions across the district about the pro­posal.

Six of the sub­mit­ters voiced their con­cerns to coun­cil last Wed­nes­day as part of a hear­ing.

Waihi sub­mit­ter Kerry Sin­gle says the sta­tus quo would gen­er­ate op­po­si­tion.

“There will be an op­po­si­tion in Paeroa and The Plains and I ex­pect the case to go through the com­mis­sion with coun­cil go­ing ahead with a three-coun­cil­lor per ward pro­posal,” he says.

He says the last time coun­cil had cho­sen the sta­tus quo, the de­ci­sion was op­posed by The Plains ward.

“And we thought it was a jackup,” he says.

Part of the re­view also asked whether coun­cil should reestab­lish com­mu­nity boards, but Mayor John Tregidga said it is not on the agenda. The pos­si­bil­ity of bring­ing back com­mu­nity boards was raised in the feed­back, but there is ab­so­lutely no ap­petite from coun­cil to go down this road.

“We used to have com­mu­nity boards but they even­tu­ally dis­banded them­selves. Now we have ward work­ing par­ties made up of the elected mem­bers from each ward that es­sen­tially do what com­mu­nity boards would do if we had them,” he says.

Kerry wants com­mu­nity boards to re­turn district-wide.

“A Waihi ward meet­ing has not taken place since Oc­to­ber 2016.

“The ward now meets in Paeroa and it is not do­ing the same lo­cal job than com­mu­nity boards would do,” he says.

But for­mer Waihi coun­cil­lor Mary Carmine says the boards have lim­ited pow­ers.

“To my view, it is a waste of time and money.

“The boards have only the pow­ers that coun­cil can give to them — which is not much,” she says.

Mary also raises con­cerns about Waihi’s in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion based on the 2013 cen­sus, with re­sults of this year’s cen­sus not yet avail­able.

“Ac­cord­ing to the

(2013) cen­sus, Waihi is 11 per cent over av­er­age and this would jus­tify the town to have one more coun­cil­lor on board.

“The town is un­der rep­re­sented in terms of its pop­u­la­tion,” she says.

Coun­cil says that Waihi Ward is very slightly over the al­low­able range by around 69 peo­ple but Mary be­lieves it is much more.

Mayor Tregidga says that in the coun­cil’s view, the num­bers are too small to jus­tify an ex­tra per­son for the town.

“The pro­posal to con­tinue with an even num­ber of coun­cil­lors across all wards re­flects the cur­rent coun­cil’s view of Hau­raki as ‘one district’.

“While in­vested in rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple in their own wards, our coun­cil­lors are also in­ter­ested in work­ing to­gether on the big­ger pic­ture — what’s best for the en­tire district as a whole,” he says.

The amended pro­posal will be rat­i­fied on the next coun­cil meet­ing (Au­gust 29) and will be fol­lowed by a one-month ap­peal pe­riod invit­ing fur­ther feed­back from the com­mu­nity.

The de­ci­sion goes to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion to rule on the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

The pos­si­bil­ity of bring­ing back com­mu­nity boards was raised in the feed­back, but there is ab­so­lutely no ap­petite from coun­cil to go down this road. We used to have com­mu­nity boards but they even­tu­ally dis­banded them­selves.’ JOHN TREGIDGA Hau­raki Mayor

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