Consultation opened today [Wednesday 14 July] on Waikato District Council’s representation arrangements for the next local body elections, including the shape and number of the district’s voting wards and the number of Councillors elected.
“Council is required to review its representation arrangements at least every six years. As our district changes and grows, our representation arrangements must reflect our communities of interest,” said Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson.
The Council’s initial proposal recommends retaining 13 Councillors, including two Maaori ward Councillors representing the whole district, 11 general ward Councillors representing seven wards and the Mayor elected at large. These changes reflect an earlier decision to introduce Maaori wards and creates better alignment for areas of common interest surrounding Hamilton city and the district’s northern communities.
If adopted, the proposal would see a split in the Awaroa ki Tuakau ward with the Port Waikato section joining the Onewhero - Te Akau ward, the Tuakau section becoming a Tuakau General ward and the Pokeno section joining with the Whangamarino ward to become the Pokeno – Hunua ward. Some of the Whangamarino ward comprising of Meremere, Rangiriri and Te Kauwhata would join the Hukanui - Waerenga ward, with the addition of some of the Eureka ward and Glen Murray to become the Waerenga - Hukanui ward.
The Ngaruawahia ward and the Huntly ward would join to become the Central ward with Taupiri included. The Newcastle, Tamahere and remainder of the Eureka ward, along with Horotiu, would join to become the Tamahere – Newcastle ward that surrounds Hamilton.
In addition, the proposal recommends that there be a Tuakau Community Board that covers the Tuakau ward and removes the Onewhero and Pokeno areas outside of the proposed ward. And the addition of a two mesh blocks to the Ngaruawahia Community Board to include the River Terraces development. The other Community Board areas have minor boundary alterations.
In 2020 the Council made another important decision as a part of the representation review process – the decision to retain ‘first-past-the-post’ as the electoral system.
Submissions can be made online at https://shape.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/reshape-waikato where full information about the representation review and proposal is available. Submissions close 5pm 20 August.
Following consultation on the review, hearings will be held at 9:30am on 9 September 2021. Following Council’s decision on 23 September, a month is then allowed for any appeals or objections before a final determination is made by the Local Government Commission, if required, early next year.