A proposal to redefine the ward boundaries in the Western Bay District has been put out for public consultation by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Council resolved on 21 June 2012 to change the existing number of wards from five to three and to reduce the number of elected representatives from 12 to 8.
Under the requirements of the Local Electoral Act, Council must review its political representation every six years in order to ensure fair and effective representation.
The Act requires that every councillor should represent a similar number of people but in the Western Bay this ratio is out of kilter due to an unequal balance of elected representatives to population in some of the wards.
For example, in Te Puke and Waihi Beach residents are over-represented by the number of councillors, whereas in Katikati, residents are under-represented. Council is proposing to merge the current five wards of Waihi Beach, Katikati, Kaimai, Te Puke and Maketu into three new wards.
Under the proposal these will be defined as the Western Ward (Waihi Beach, Katikati and Matakana Island) the Central Ward (Kaimai, Omokoroa, Te Puna) and the Eastern Ward (Te Puke and Maketu).
The three-way split achieves fairer and more effective elected representation as each elected member will represent about the same number of people within their Ward, being within a 10 percent range of the average.
Under the proposal there will be three councillors each for the Eastern and Central wards and two for the Western Ward. Council believes that the reduction in the number of councillors from 12 to 8 is a better ratio of councillors to the population.
Community Boards will remain the same in name and boundaries but in order to achieve a better representation balance, the number of councillors appointed to the Te Puke Community Board will be reduced from three to two. All other community boards will retain their two appointed councillors. The proposal is the result of an on-line survey of electors’ opinions, several Council workshops and the consideration of many options as to how the District could be better represented.
The proposal is out for consultation and submissions must be received by Council no later than 4pm, Wednesday 25 July 2012.
Submissions will be heard on Friday 17 August. Council will deliberate on the submissions and the final representation proposal will be notified and go out for further public consultation.
Any appeals will be determined by the Local Government Commission. If no appeals are lodged, the proposal will be adopted by Council later this year and will take effect from the Local Government Elections to be held on 12 October 2013.
Written submissions can be forwarded to Western Bay of Plenty District Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org or post Private Bay 12803, Tauranga, 3143.
Further information is available at www.westernbay.govt.nz/Projects/Representation-Review