Representation Review banner image

Arotakenga whakaāhuahanga

Representation review

Tairāwhiti Represent!  Whakahuatia Mai!

We're reviewing how Gisborne District Council represents our communities. We need to hear from you how many councillors we need.

All councils are required to review their representation every 6 years.

In November 2020, Council voted to include Māori wards and that decision triggered the need to review our Council representation for the local body elections in 2022 and 2025. The decision to establish Māori wards bought forward this representation arrangement review from 2024 to 2021.

What we're reviewing

The representation review looks at the total number of councillors there should be for a region and the way they're elected. The position of mayor is not part of the review. The review involves deciding:

  • the number of councillor to be elected for both the general and Māori wards
  • whether they're elected from wards or ‘at large’ across the whole region, or a mix of both
  • whether there should be community boards, and if so how many, their names and boundaries and the number of members for each board.

Council is required to consider 3 key factors to ensure effective representation of communities of interest. This is required for both the Māori and General electoral populations:

  • Communities of interest.
  • Effective representation of communities of interest.
  • Fair representation of electors.

On 23 November 2020, Council established Māori wards for the next 2 local body elections (2022 and 2025), alongside General wards, under the Local Electoral Act. Māori wards are the local government equivalent of the Māori parliamentary electorates.

A candidate standing for a Māori ward does not need to be enrolled on the Māori electoral roll to stand.

This is also the same for the General ward, where a candidate does not need to be enrolled on the General electoral roll to stand in that ward.

Candidates for both the General and Māori wards must be nominated by 2 electors enrolled in the ward they are seeking for both Māori and General wards.

As part of the review, we must identify the region’s communities of interest. Local Government Commission guidelines recognise a community of interest according to 3 criteria:

  • Perceptual: a sense of belonging to a place
  • Functional: meet service requirements - like shops and amenities
  • Political: the representation of community interests.

There can be physical or topographical features that define a community of interest, and similar communities can be grouped.

These groupings can be by ethnicity or the activities that take place in a community that bring people together. Communities do change over time.

As part of the review, Council must consider whether community boards are necessary to provide effective representation for local communities within the district.

The role of a community board is to:

  • Represent, and act as an advocate for, the interests of its community.
  • Consider and report on all matters referred to it by the Council, or any matter of interest or concern to the community board.
  • Maintain an overview of services provided by the Council within the community.
  • Prepare an annual submission to the Council for expenditure within the community.
  • Communicate with community organisations and special interest groups within the community.
  • Undertake any other responsibilities that are delegated to it by the Council.

Community boards have their own status in legislation and are not a committee of Council. They're not local authorities and therefore cannot set rates, raise funds, enter into contracts, deal in property, pass bylaws or appoint staff.

Elections for community board members take place at the same time as the Council elections. A board must be between 4 - 12 members. It can include both elected and appointed members, but at least 4 members must be elected and the total number of appointed members must be less than half the total number of members.

Matters for the Council to consider in deciding whether one or more community boards should be established in the district include:

  • Would community boards provide effective representation for particular communities if the Council decided to adopt either at-large elections or to have larger wards?
  • Should community boards be established to help promote more resilient local communities?
  • Should community boards be established to enable more local decision-making?
  • Do community boards have benefits compared to residents’ and community associations or appointed ward committees?
  • What would be the costs of community boards?

The direct costs of a community board are paid for by ratepayers in the community board area, although Council does pays for its own administrative and servicing costs. The cost to ratepayers would be dependent on the budget for the board and the number of ratepayers sharing the cost.

Tell us what you think - Tairāwhiti Represent!

There's lots of different possibilities for our representation arrangements in Tairāwhiti.

Now's your chance to help shape our district’s democratic system. We want to hear your thoughts on what should be in the initial representation proposal.

We're starting with a blank page and cannot use our current arrangements as a starting point.

We're introducing Māori wards which will change the areas that councillors represent. This is something we all need to contribute to, to make sure our region’s representation is fair and equitable. Communities change and people move over time, and this is why there's a legislative requirement to review our representation at least every 6 years.

To help us create a proposal for Māori and General wards, please tell us what you think by completing the survey.

The survey closes 8am Monday 21 June.

Once we get all the feedback, then we'll create an initial proposal and we’ll ask you for your feedback again.

Tell us what you think

We want to hear your thoughts on how to shape Council representation.

Key dates in representation review process

An initial proposal will be developed based on everyone's feedback from the pre-engagement round.

20 May - 20 JuneInformal survey - we want your feedback
12 AugustCouncillors decide on the initial proposal
16 August - 16 SeptFormal consultation - on initial proposal, are we on the right track?
30 SeptemberCouncillors consider all the submissions and create the final proposal
21 OctoberCouncil adopts the final proposal
26 October - 26 NovemberPublic notice of final proposal for appeals and objections

Q&As about the representation review

We answer some of the frequently asked questions about the structure of council, how many councillors and their representation.

The last review was in 2019 and resulted in no changes to the representation arrangements.

It was the 2013 review that produced the structure we see today. It was determined by the Local Government Commission based on a communities of interest analysis by Council staff.

Can we keep our current representation arrangements?

In 2019 the Local Government Commission told us that we needed to keep the 5 ward system in place for the 2019 local body elections. These 5 wards are:

  • Matakaoa-Waiapu – 1 councillor
  • Tawhiti-Uawa – 1 councillor
  • Gisborne – 9 councillors
  • Patutahi-Taruheru – 1 councillor
  • Waipaoa – 1 councillor

With the introduction of Māori wards our current set up is no longer an option.

As such, Council and the whole community need to take a fresh look at our representation arrangement.

Here's the current ward locations

Ward Map

The people elected in your ward are your voice and advocate at the Council table.

This review looks at Council’s membership to ensure we're providing the right representation for our people and their communities.

Each elected member should represent a similar number of people. If Council decides to divide the district into wards, in legislation each ward councillor must represent the same number of people, plus or minus 10%.

If the number of councillors remained the same for the 2022 elections, this would mean that General ward councillors would need to represent between 3,578 and 4,374 people (8 positions), and Māori ward councillors would need to represent between 3,407 and 4,165 people (5 positions).

In deciding effective representation, questions in relation to accessibility to elected members, size and configuration of an area also need to be considered, for example:

  • Would the population have reasonable access to councillors and vice versa?
  • Would councillors be able to effectively represent the views of their area?
  • Would councillors be able to attend public meetings through their area and provide reasonable opportunities for the residents to have face-to-face meetings?

What does fair representation mean?

This determines where boundaries should be. It means that where there's wards members should be equally spread among the population:

  • The ratio of population to member within one ward should not vary from the average ratio for the whole of Council by more than 10%. This is called the +/- 10% rule.
  • It's possible for a council to not comply with this rule if complying would lead to a community of interest being split or distinct communities of interest joined. In this situation the Local Government Commission makes the final decision.
  • Matakaoa-Waiapu and Uawa-Tawhiti wards are currently over represented at -21.62% and -23.14% as determined by the Local Government Commission in 2019.
  • Based on 2020 population estimates this is now -28.26% for the Matakaoa-Waiapu Ward and -24.67% for the Tawhiti-Uawa Ward.

The minimum number of councillors the Gisborne District Council can have is 5 and the maximum is 29.

Some examples of how the total number of councillors affects the number of Māori ward and General ward councillors.

  • 15 councillors – 9 General and 6 Māori
  • 14 councillors – 9 General and 5 Māori
  • 13 councillors – 8 General and 5 Māori
  • 12 councillors – 8 General and 4 Māori
  • 11 councillors – 7 General and 4 Māori
  • 10 councillors – 6 General and 4 Māori
  • 9 councillors – 6 General and 3 Māori

A representation review looks at the total number of councillors there should be for a region and the way they're elected.

This involves deciding whether councillors are elected from wards or “at large” across the whole region or by a mix of both wards and at large.

A review also covers whether there should be community boards and if so the number of boards, their names and boundaries, and the number of members for each board.

No, Council voted in 2020 to move to a Single Transferrable Vote (STV) electoral system for the 2022 and 2025 local elections.

Council released a public notice after this meeting advising electors that they had the right to request a poll to overturn this Council decision.

A valid demand for a poll was not received by the deadline of 21 February 2021, so the STV electoral system will be used for the 2022 elections.

Single Transferrable Voting

On 13 August 2020, Council resolved to use Single Transferrable Voting (STV) as the electoral system for the 2022 and 2025 elections, replacing the current First-past-the-post (FPP) system.

STV is a ‘preferential’ voting system. This means you rank as few or as many candidates as you wish according to your preferences. Your vote is then transferred, in whole or in part, from your first preference to your second preference to your third preference and so on, depending on whether that candidate has enough votes to be elected.

STV can be seen as a fairer system as, depending on the number of candidates you rank, you will contribute to the election of at least one candidate and your vote will not be ‘wasted’.

STV may also be a ‘proportional representation’ voting system. However, this only occur in multi-member elections where there are at least five positions. Proportional representation cannot occur, for example, in single member wards.