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Representation review hearing votes for two wards district-wide

Councillors asked the Chief Executive to prepare a final proposal of two district-wide wards – one general and one Māori -- at a representation review hearing yesterday.

There were 19 people who spoke to their submissions at the hearing, with a strong show of support from the rural sector. It came after a record 1149 submissions were received from the community around a change of representation for Tairāwhiti.

Councillors voted on three points. It was unanimous to keep the number of Councillors at 13, and to not have community boards.

However, the vote was close when it came to whether there should be a separate rural ward. Following a robust debate between Councillors, it was a majority of 7-6 who voted for two wards district-wide – one Māori and one general.

They will be called Tairāwhiti Māori Ward and Tairāwhiti General Ward. Pending the final vote next month they will be in place for the 2022 and 2025 local body elections.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz thanked the councillors for their open and honest discussions around representation at the Council table.

“There is no right or wrong decision here, I respect every comment around this table and there were valid comments made both ways.”

A final proposal will be drawn up for Councillors to vote on at the Thursday 4 November Council meeting.

The decision will be notified. There is then a month-long period where people can object to the Local Government Commission. If the Local Government Commission decide to go ahead with a Hearing, they will let Council know early next year.

The livestream of yesterday’s meeting can be found on our website.