We are undertaking a review of our district’s representation arrangements for the 2019 local government elections.
This consultation is now closed. Oral submissions will be publicly notified within six weeks of the close of submissions. There will then be a one month period to appeal or object to the decision. The Council will then meet to make a decision on its final proposal.
Read the volume of submissions received here.(PDF, 766KB)
Where are we up to?
The appeal period closed on 3 August 2018. There were no appeals received.
However, as our proposal did not fully comply with the Local Electoral Act’s ‘population equality rule’, the Local Government Commission will still have to make a determination on our final representation arrangements.
All information has now been forwarded to the Local Government Commission so that a decision on the representation arrangements for the 2019 Whanganui District Council election can be made. This must be received by 10 April 2019 and will then be publicly notified.
As part of this review we have released an initial proposal detailing the arrangements we think will provide the most effective representation for our communities.
Why undertake a representation review?
Councils are required to review their representation requirements every six years. As part of this review, the Council can consider making changes to the electoral system we use for local government elections, the boundaries or names of subdivisions/wards, the number of elected members we have and whether they are elected according to a ward or 'at large'.
In delivering this review the Council has to think about the best way to represent the district's 'communities of interest'. More information about these requirements, including our communities of interest, is contained in the Statement of Proposal.(PDF, 1MB)
The Council is due to undertake its review this year. Through this review we are proposing to make minor changes to the Rural Community Board boundaries for the Kaitoke and Whanganui subdivisions and to change the name of the Board. All other representation arrangements would remain the same.
What is proposed to stay the same
It is proposed that the district would continue to be represented by a Mayor and 12 councillors. The Mayor and councillors would be elected by the electors of the district as a whole ('at large') – rather than according to wards.
The Council has already decided to keep the 'First Past the Post' electoral system for the 2019 local government election.
Rural Community Board
The Rural Community Board will still consist of three subdivisions, with the same number of members appointed:
It is still intended to appoint two councillor representatives to the Board as well.
All Rural Community Board members would continue to advocate for the entire rural community as is currently the case.
What is proposed to change
Rural Community Board
The name of the Board would change to the Whanganui Rural Community Board. This would align with the Council's approach to the use of 'Whanganui' and would recognise the government's determination in relation to the correction of the spelling. It would also accurately reflect the spelling of the community that the Whanganui District Council, and ultimately, the Board, represents.
It is also proposed that minor changes be made to the boundaries of the Whanganui and Kaitoke subdivisions. This is because they do not currently meet the population equality rule of the Local Electoral Act. This says that each elected member should represent about the same number of people.
Currently the Whanganui subdivision has too few people for the number of Rural Community Board members it has and the Kaitoke subdivision has too few Rural Community Board members for the number of people living in the subdivision.
What the boundary changes would mean
The Whanganui subdivision would be slightly expanded into the Kaitoke subdivision. This would enable Kaitoke to meet the population rule and would bring the Whanganui subdivision much closer to the mark.
You can also see the proposed changes in this interactive and searchable map.
||Description of change proposed
||Explanation of proposed change from previous Board area
Moving the boundary of the Whanganui subdivision, with the Whanganui subdivision taking in some of what has been Kaitoke. Mesh blocks 1684900 and 1685000 would be transferred from the Kaitoke subdivision to the Whanganui subdivision.
This would make the Whanganui subdivision larger. Currently the Whanganui subdivision has too few people for the number of elected members it has. This would bring the Whanganui subdivision much closer in line with the population equality rule.
Making this change would retain existing communities of interest and would also bring some larger farming properties into the Whanganui subdivision. It is considered that a stronger community of interest may exist here.
Moving the boundary of the Kaitoke subdivision, with some of the Kaitoke subdivision moving into Whanganui. Mesh blocks 1684900 and 1685000 would be transferred from the Kaitoke subdivision to the Whanganui subdivision.
This would make the Kaitoke subdivision smaller. Currently the Kaitoke subdivision has too few elected members for the number of people living in this subdivision. This would mean that the Kaitoke subdivision would now meet the population equality rule.
Making this change would retain existing communities of interest and would also move some larger farming properties from the Kaitoke subdivision into the Whanganui subdivision. It is considered that a stronger community of interest may exist here.
Why these changes?
We have taken into account feedback from the rural community and acknowledge the importance of keeping the Fordell community intact. This is a strongly recognised community with well-developed and enduring social, service and economic connections. It is important that this sense of belonging for residents within this settlement is retained. In addition, the proposed boundary changes provide the opportunity for larger farming blocks to be incorporated into the more farming focused Whanganui subdivision. This is considered to be a better community of interest alignment than the existing arrangement within the Kaitoke subdivision.
Even though the proposal does not completely meet the population equality rule this is still considered to be the most fair and effective means of representation in the rural area. This is because of the need to recognise and protect communities of interest and ensure people with common interests are grouped in the same subdivision. It wasn’t possible to do this and still create a fully compliant proposal.
The proposal we have provided is largely compliant and non-compliance is permitted where respecting communities of interest makes it necessary.
For any queries please contact Stephanie Macdonald-Rose, Policy and Governance Manager on (06) 349 0001.
Written submissions open on 20 June and closed at 5.00pm on 3 August 2018.
Oral submissions will be heard and all other submissions considered. The Council will then meet to make a decision on its final proposal.
This will be publically notified within six weeks of the close of submissions. There will then be a one month period to appeal or object to the decision.
If there is an appeal or objection, or the final proposal does not comply with the Local Electoral Act's requirements for fair representation it must be referred to the Local Government Commission. The Local Government Commission will determine the representation arrangements for the 2019 Whanganui District Council elections. That decision must be made by 10 April 2019.