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Representation review pre-engagement Tell us your views

What is it all about?

Representation Review timeline.jpgAs a local authority, Hastings District Council is required to review how you are represented around the Council table at least once every six years.

We last held a representation review in 2018. However, the Council decision to introduce Māori wards earlier this year means we are required to do another review in 2021. The outcome of this will apply to the 2022 and 2025 local elections.

Council has to decide on an initial proposal by 31 August. You can help us shape that. We will publicly notify this proposal no later than 8 September, and then formally consult on it.

Council needs to make these decisions:

  • How many councillors there should be on Council
  • Whether councillors should be elected by ward, or a combination of by ward and across the whole district (at large), and the names of the wards.
  • Whether or not to have any community boards, and if so, the number, boundaries and names of the boards, and the number of members for each board.

We welcome your feedback by Monday 9 August

WardMapCurrent representation arrangements

Council currently has a mayor and 14 councillors. The mayor is elected “at large” (across the whole district), while the councillors are elected by electors of their ward only. These wards reflect Hastings district’s distinct communities of interest identified in the 2018 representation review.

The current wards are:
Mōhaka 1 councillor
Kahurānaki 1 councillor
Hastings/Havelock North 8 councillors
Flaxmere 2 councillors
Heretaunga 2 councillors

Hastings district has one community board for the rural area covering the Mōhaka and Kahurānaki wards. Council appoints the councillors for Kahurānaki and Mōhaka wards to the Board. Hastings district’s rural community board is divided up into four electoral subdivisions. These are:

These are:
Kaweka 1 member
Tūtira 1 member
Maraekākaho 1 member
Poukawa 1 member

Communities of interest

Council needs to ensure its representation structure provides fair and effective representation for individuals and communities. We want to know what communities of interest you think exist in Hastings district. Factors that may define a community of interest include:

  • Geographical features
  • Economic activities
  • Shared facilities and services
  • Distinctive history
  • Transport routes
  • Community activities and focal points
  • The rohe or takiwā of local iwi.

Any or all of these may produce a sense of community identity.

What communities of interest do you think make up the Hastings district?

Method of electing councillors

Currently, the mayor is elected at-large (across the whole district) and councillors are elected by ward. Council can choose to elect councillors by either:

  • a ward system, or
  • a combination of at large and wards*

*as Council has decided to have a Māori ward or wards, it cannot elect all councillors at large; it must have at least one General electoral ward.

In a ward system, voters may only vote for candidates standing for the ward they live in/qualify to vote in. This system ensures each of the different communities of interest in Hastings district have guaranteed representation on Council.

A mixed system, where some councillors are elected from wards and some at-large, can be seen to provide a balance between representation of district-wide interests and ward concerns.

How do you think councillors should be elected?

Ward boundaries

If wards are retained, the number and boundaries of wards will need to be determined. In 2019 the current wards were deemed to best reflect communities of interest, but communities of interest may change over time.

The +/-10% rule is an important guide in assessing fair representation. This rule means the ratio of councillors to the electoral population in each ward should produce a variance of no more than 10%.

Any departure from the +/-10% rule must be specifically approved by the Local Government Commission.

If wards are retained, what changes (if any) do you think are needed to reflect communities of interest?

Number of councillors

The review has to determine the number of councillors required for the good governance and effective representation of the district. Under law, Council can have between five and 29 councillors plus the mayor.

In 2019, 14 was considered the right number of councillors to provide good governance, share the workload and provide effective representation. The community may have views on whether a smaller or larger number might produce better governance and representation.

Regardless of the number of councillors, the total amount paid to elected members overall does not significantly change. Under the current arrangements, the Remuneration Authority sets the total remuneration pool that is paid to the mayor and councillors. This would likely be divided among the councillors elected.

How many total councillors do you think Council should have?

Māori wards

Council has resolved to introduce Māori wards for the 2022 and 2025 election, which means voters on the Māori electoral roll will vote for candidates standing in the Māori ward or wards, while voters on the General electoral role will vote for those standing in General wards. All electors may vote for the mayor and any Council positions being elected at large.

The number of Māori ward members on Council is determined by a formula in the Local Electoral Act 2002 based on the total number of councillors elected from wards. For example:

Total number of councillors elected from wards Number of Māori ward members
7-8 1
9-13 2
14-17 3

Council must now determine the number of Māori wards. If we have:

  • One ward, then all voters on the Māori roll vote for candidates standing for that one ward
  • More than one ward (separated geographically), then voters on the Māori roll vote for candidates standing in the ward they qualify to vote in.

Council wishes to hear from voters who are, intend to be, or are eligible to be on the Māori electoral roll as to their preferred structure of Māori wards.

Community boards

A community board is a separately elected body that works on local issues. Its powers and duties are mainly those that Council chooses to delegate to it.

Council has only one community board at present, to cover the rural area of the district (the Mōhaka and Kahurānaki wards). This board was created in response to representation concerns from the rural community following the local government amalgamation process in 1989.

The cost of running a community board is predominantly funded by the ratepayers in the area the board represents.

Do you think Hastings district should have community boards?

If it is decided Hastings district should have community boards, we need to determine the number of boards, their boundaries and the number of members. Community boards can have between four and 12 members. At least four must be elected members. The number of members appointed by Council must be less than half the total number of members.

Which communities should have a community board, and how many members should each board have?

Tell us your views by Monday 9 August at 12pm

Community meeting

View the presentation from the community meeting here

Hastings District Council
207 Lyndon Road East, Hastings 4122
Private Bag 9002, Hastings 4156
Phone: +64 6 871 5000
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