Every six years the district council has to review the way in which councillors are elected and in which the community is represented at council. This also involves a consideration of community boards and/or community committees.
Currently, there are 13 councillors from 10 wards. There are five community boards with six members per board.
The choices involved are primarily these:
- Increase or decrease the number of councillors or keep the number the same.
- Are councillors elected by ward or at large or a mixture of some wards and some at large?
- Increase or decrease the number of community boards. Some community committees may elect to remain committees rather than become a board and some boards may be better off becoming a community committee.
The District Council has already made some choices in relation to the representation review which has been running now since mid‑June. The choices made are these primarily:
- To retain the first past the post system for elections.
- There will be no separate Māori ward.
Perhaps the most important issue for electors is whether or not to retain a ward system. The disadvantage of electing members throughout the whole Waikato District Council area is that there may not be anyone local who can represent a particular area. If that were to occur, people in that area might have a hard time getting a councillor interested in their issue or issues.
The population of the Waikato District Council requires that each councillor, if there are to be 13 councillors, represents approximately 5,600 electors.
As part of its consultation on this issue, the council is conducting a survey and there are survey monkey questions which can be accessed by all electors.
The survey runs until the 4th of May so, if you have not already, please have your say. Council’s timetable includes putting a public notice out on the 20th of June with a submission period running until the 1st of August 2018. There will be hearings in the latter half of August and a decision will be publicly notified in mid‑September. If there are appeals and the matter goes to the Local Government Commission, a decision will be made by the 10th of April 2019 in time for next year’s local body elections.
Matangi Community Committee