28 June 2018
Whanganui District Council is undertaking a community representation review ahead of the next local government elections in October 2019.
Every six years, all Councils must review how they represent the community and ask for public feedback.
The review provides the Council with an opportunity to consider making changes to the electoral system, the boundaries or names of subdivisions and wards, the number of elected members and whether they are elected according to a ward or 'at large'.
For 2019, the Council is proposing minor changes to the Rural Community Board boundaries for Kaitoke and Whanganui subdivisions. The Kaitoke, Whanganui and Kai Iwi subdivisions would remain as they are, with two board members elected to the Whanganui and Kaitoke subdivisions and three board members elected to the Kai Iwi subdivision. The Whanganui subdivision would be slightly expanded into the Kaitoke subdivision.
The changes would provide more equal representation of community board members compared with the number of voters they represent.
Voters in the Kaitoke and Whanganui subdivision affected by the proposed changes have been sent a letter telling them about the review.
It is also proposed to change the name of the Board from ‘Wanganui Community Board’ to ‘Whanganui Community Board.’
Whanganui District Council’s current representation by way of a Mayor and 12 councillors, is proposed to remain as is. The way councillors are currently elected, using the First Past the Post system, is also proposed to remain.
Mayor Hamish McDouall is keen to see what the community thinks about the proposal, which is available on the Council website.
“The representation review gives the Council a chance to gauge voters’ feelings about the status quo and rural voters a chance to have their say on proposed changes to the way they are represented.”
Mayor McDouall says the community will be given a further opportunity to have their say in a poll which will be sent to voters at the same time as the local government election papers.
“The intention is to go to the electorate in October 2019 and ask them a series of questions about how they are represented.
“We want to ask whether people want the current voting system, which is First Past the Post, or a change to the Single Transferable Vote system.
“We will also be asking for feedback on how many councillors the community thinks we need and whether having wards is a good idea. It is my belief that it should be the electors as a whole who should decide how and how many people are elected to represent our district. Asking voters during a time a time when people are aware of local body elections is a good way for us to get feedback.”
He says feedback received from voters during the representation review will help the Council develop questions for the poll in October 2019.
Submissions close on Friday, 3 August 2018.
Statement of proposal and feedback.