Local Government Commission upholds proposal for representation

Published on 12 April 2019

Thumbnail image for Representation Review consultation.

The Local Government Commission has upheld Horowhenua District Council’s proposal for representation arrangements for the local elections to be held on 12 October 2019.

The determination means the number of wards, councillors and ward boundaries remain the same, with 10 councillors elected from four wards and one mayor elected by the whole district.

In the Kere Kere Ward, which covers Foxton, Foxton Beach and the surrounding area, the ratio of population to councillors exceeds the normally permitted 10 per cent deviation from the overall district ratio, which means Kere Kere has more councillors per person than other wards. However, Group Manager Corporate Services Mark Lester said an exemption had been granted.

“We would need to add only 64 people to Kere Kere to make it compliant, and we expect this relatively minor non-compliance to self-correct in the near future if growth occurs as predicted in the Council’s draft Growth Strategy. In addition, altering the boundaries of Kere Kere to make it compliant would have limited effective representation by dividing communities between wards,” he said.

The Foxton Community Board will remain and will comprise five elected members plus the two elected councillors for the Kere Kere Ward. This marks a return to the traditional practice of having both Kere Kere Ward councillors on the Foxton Community Board. The number was reduced to one following the last Representation Review in 2012.

Mr Lester said Council consulted extensively with the community in May and June 2018 on its initial proposal, then again in July and August on its final proposal, which reflected feedback from the community on the initial proposal.

“More than 70 per cent of submissions received during public consultation on the initial representation proposal supported continuing with the status quo for the Council,” he said.

“The issue that attracted the most attention was Council’s initial proposal not to retain the Foxton Community Board. Just over 82 per cent of the submissions we received, as well as a petition with 358 names, opposed the proposal. Council listened, and our final proposal recommended retaining the Foxton Community Board.”

Representation arrangements include the number of councillors to be elected to Council; whether councillors are elected by wards or by the district as a whole; the number, boundaries and names of wards and number of councillors that will represent them; and whether to have community boards, and if so how many, their boundaries and membership.

The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires local authorities to review their representation arrangements at least once every six years. The representation arrangements upheld today will be in place for the next two local elections in 2019 and 2022.