Representation Review 2024

Submissions close at 11.59pm on Sunday 4 August 2024

Representation review graphic showing composition of council following representation review

Community kōrero about the representation review
Councillors invite you to share your feedback about the proposed make-up of the council for the 2025 local elections from from 5.30pm to 7.00pm on Tuesday 23 July 2024 at the Hakeke Community Centre and Library, 65 Hakeke Street. Nau mai haere mai - everyone is welcome!

We are undertaking a representation review that will determine the make-up of your council for the next local body election in 2025.

A representation review gives our community the opportunity to have their say on our representation model, including:

  • the total number of councillors we have
  • the number of wards, in addition to the Māori wards
  • the boundaries of these additional wards
  • whether we have community boards, and if so, their locations, structures, and the number of members they have.

We are undertaking this review because the Local Electoral Act 2001 (LEA) requires councils to review representation arrangements at least once every six years to ensure fair and effective representation for the community. The council last reviewed its representation in 2018, so a review is required before the next local body election in October 2025.

Where we are currently

Our representation comprises a mayor and 12 councillors who are elected by everyone in the district. We also have one community board.

We have completed two stages of preliminary consultation: one with our rural community regarding their preferred representation, and another with our entire community asking their preferred number of councillors and wards.

We are now beginning formal consultation and we are seeking your feedback on this proposed representation arrangement that was passed by council resolution at a full council meeting on 25 June 2024:

  • one mayor and 12 councillors
    10 in the General ward
    2 in the Māori ward
  • voters will elect their representatives based on their enrolment on the General or Māori roll. 
  • one community board will represent the rural community. 

This initial arrangement has been developed through workshops incorporating feedback from our community, with input from our working party group, consisting of council staff and elected members.

Tell us what you think - complete your submission
Read the statement of proposal(PDF, 2MB)
Download a printable submission form(PDF, 265KB)

We will be hosting several community events where you can find out more about the initial arrangements proposed for the election. We'll share those events here and on our social media channels.

Results from our February 2024 preliminary survey

In February 2024 we asked our community to vote on:

  • How many councillors they would like
  • How the district should vote for the councillors
  • If they would like a community board.

The results of that vote were:

  • 54% supported reducing the total number of councillor positions
  • 64% supported councillors continuing to be elected by electors of the entire district
  • 54% supported retaining a community board.

More information

Whanganui District Council voted in October 2023 to include Māori wards for the 2025 local body elections. This has been worked into the proposal and is no longer being consulted on. This alters the voting dynamic, meaning the community can no longer vote as a single entity. Voters will be split by their electoral roll status, general, or Māori.

 

The representation review process determines the composition of Whanganui District Council, including:

  • the number of councillors to be elected
  • the basis of election for councillors (wards and boundaries)
  • whether we have community boards, and if so, their locations, structures, and the number of members they have

A community board consists of members elected to represent local interests in a specific community and serve as a bridge between the community and the council.

Wards are integral parts of the council and comprise groups of councillors who collectively represent their respective community interests at the council table.

 

We have previously sought input on the number of councillors and community boards, and based on that feedback, the current proposed arrangement is the only option available for voting in this survey. To stay informed about future arrangements, please follow our social media channels and visit this website page regularly.

 

The Remuneration Authority sets the budget for this district, which is then distributed among the councillors. The fewer councillors we have, the more each councillor receives from that pool of money.

The council will hear any submissions on the initial proposal, if requested, on 13 August 2024. Following hearings and deliberations on any submissions received, the council will either confirm the initial proposal as the final proposal or make any amendments to the proposal in response to submissions, and adopt the final proposal at its meeting on 3 September 2024. 

The final proposal for representation arrangement will then be publicly notified and will be open for appeals and objections for not less than one month.

Any objections or appeals received will be referred to the Local Government Commission, which will make the final determination on the district's representation arrangements for the 2025 and 2028 local elections.

 

These changes will take effect from the 2025 local election.

 

Electors on the Māori electoral roll can only vote for candidates from a Māori ward, while electors on the general electoral roll can only vote for candidates from a general ward. Everybody votes for the mayor.

 

If you are of Māori descent, you can enrol in either the general or Māori electoral rolls.  If you are not of Māori descent you can only enrol on the General Electoral roll. You can find more information about the Māori Electoral Option on the Electoral Commission’s website.

 

To be eligible to stand for election, a candidate must be:

  • A New Zealand citizen (by birth or citizenship ceremony) and
  • Enrolled as a Parliamentary elector (anywhere in New Zealand) and
  • Candidates in Māori wards do not need to be of Māori descent. However, they need to be nominated by two people on the Māori electoral roll in the area the candidate is standing. 

Candidates cannot stand for both a general ward and a Māori ward at the same time.

Māori ward councillors carry the same responsibilities as other councillors. Their role is to represent the significance of the Māori community's voice and ensure that issues important to Māori can be directly addressed within the council.

 

A community of interest is a group of people who have a common geographical, economic, social or historical bond.