Tauranga City Council is asking its citizens for their opinion on how the city’s future councillors are elected.
But this isn’t a result of councillors being replaced by commissioners. Under the Local Electoral Act the process must be reviewed at least every six years.
“The Minister of Local Government has said that there will be an election in October 2022,” said Tauranga City Council’s Democracy Services manager, Coral Hair.
“So we’re looking at what the representation arrangements will be when we have a mayor and councillors are back in place from October 2022.
“It’s not only because we have to do it. It’s a good idea to review what your arrangements are for electing your councillors,” she said.
“Tauranga’s a rapidly growing city so we have to review what is the best arrangement for efficient and effective representation of people.”
There are four initial options to get your head around. Two with 10 councillors plus a mayor and two options with 12 councillors plus a mayor.
“They’re not set in stone so it’s really important people do take our short survey,” said Hair.
“Option one is a mixed model with 10 councillors and it’s very similar to the model we’ve got at the moment.
“The second is also with 10 councillors and we’ve got a two-ward system there – one general ward with nine councillors and one Māori ward with one Māori councillor.
“The third option is a seven-ward model. “We have six general wards and one Māori ward.
“The final option is a single member ward where we have one councillor per ward and we’ve got 11 general wards and one Māori ward.”
Under the legislation Tauranga can have between five and 29 councillors, but more councillors doesn’t mean more cost.
“We’ve had 10 councillors for many years now. It used to be more than that but we’ve been at 10 for a while now.
“It doesn’t affect the renumeration, how many councillors you have. There’s a pool and it just gets divided into smaller pieces if you have more councillors,” said Hair.
Members of the public were unaware of the review but keen to learn more.
“I don’t have enough knowledge on the local council or what’s currently happening but if information is easily accessible, I’d love to do some research on it just to get more info on what’s happening in our community,” said Matapihi resident Malakhai Sadler.
Tauranga resident Philip Kerr said people should do their research.
“There’s no point having a vote if you don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. “You may find you’re voting for the exact opposite to what you want.”
Community information sessions will be held at Greerton Library, Pāpāmoa Library and the council’s Willow St office at the end of July.
The survey runs until August 13, when the commissioners will develop a proposal and ask for public submissions from August 27.
You can take the short survey at the council’s website – www.tauranga.govt.nz/council/about-your-council/elections/representation-review
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