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Representation still a hot topic

30 Jan 2018

Representation still a hot topic

Questions about how our district is represented in Council will continue being asked for a few more weeks. 

We engaged with public about representation over the last 2 months and while some areas were vocal about the issue, more feedback is required before submitting a proposal to councillors.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann expressed the need for a wider range of responses, "We want to ensure that the proposal we submit, reflects the views of our district”

"A shrinking population in two of our rural wards could prompt changes to ward boundaries”

The representation review conducted in 2012 saw the merger of three western wards to become two, and the merger of three coastal wards to become two.

"If we can't demonstrate a compelling solution, a possible alternative is that the Local Government Commission could override us and make their own changes."

Feedback received so far

Initial feedback from the survey points towards rural communities feeling under-represented in the current makeup of the Council.

"To expand on this, we want to know what preferred method of ward representation would be" said Ms Thatcher Swann

Under the current system, residents in rural wards get a single vote for their preferred councillor, while city residents can choose up to 9 preferred candidates.

The other possible system is to remove wards altogether and vote as a single at-large ward, which would give everyone the same amount of votes.

A case for more options

Gisborne District Council is a unitary authority which carries out the combined duties of both a district and regional council.

“Our council by its very nature has to deal with city and rural issues, regardless of which ward they are part of”

Council is currently made up of 9 city councillors with 4 councillors from rural wards; Taruheru, Waipaoa, Matakaoa-Waiapa, Tawhiti-Uawa and the Mayor. With each councillor roughly representing 3.7k people.

To place feedback, you can fill in the short survey on our representation review page

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