Representation Review

​​​​​​Every six years we are required to review our representation arrangements. This is called the ‘Representation Review’. It is where we look at the structure of our elected members and how they are elected. The review investigates the electoral system, Māori representation, and representation arrangements.

We are currently underway with our 2017 review, which will apply to the next election in 2019.​

Electoral System

Earlier this year Councillors met to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the two electoral systems available for use in a triennial election.

First Past the Post (FPP) has historically been used by Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and was most popular with 70 out of 78 councils adopting this system for the 2016 elections.

Single Transferable Vote (STV) was the other option considered.

Council passed a resolution at the Council meeting on 10 August 2017 to remain with FPP.​

Māori Representation

Council is currently discussing the option of establishing Māori wards.

The first combined Council/Tangata Whenua workshop has been held and the Partnership Forum continues to work on developing a report for Council that captures the Tangata Whenua viewpoint.
Additional workshops are being held in November 2017.
If Council decides that Māori wards are to be established, the public will be notified of the decision to establish by 30 November 2017.

23 November, 2017

Council votes for Māori voice at table

Photo: Tauranga Moana Te Arawa ki Takutai Partnership Forum Chair Reon Tuanau and Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber

Western Bay of Plenty District looks set to get Māori ward representation at the 2019 and 2022 local body elections.

Councillors voted today (21 November 2017) to establish one or more Māori wards to enable Māori representation around the Council table.

Today’s decision follows a unanimous vote by Council’s Tauranga Moana/Te Arawa ki Takutai Partnership Forum earlier this month which recommended the establishment of one or more Māori ward/s.

Mayor Garry Webber says the Western Bay District’s constituency has one of the highest percentages of Māori among local authorities in New Zealand.

“We have 11 iwi and 74 hapū within our rohe and while no representation system is perfect it needs to represent the people it affects. Today’s bold step by Council recognises this and paves the way for fairer representation.”

Garry says Council accepts that not everyone will agree with the decision, however the position and role of Tangata Whenua in New Zealand’s political, economic and environmental landscape is as strong as it has ever been.

“When you take this into account, along with a District that is heading into a post Treaty of Waitangi settlement environment, it is very clear that Māori should be around the Council decision-making table.’’

Council’s Tauranga Moana/Te Arawa ki Takutai Partnership Forum Co-Chair Reon Tuana says Tangata Whenua in the Western Bay have a long-standing relationship with Council through partnership forums developed over many years.

“We believe Māori wards are a natural progression from this partnership and the opportunity is timely. It will give us a stronger voice to enable an even more focused effort to improve the well-being of Tangata Whenua within the District and the communities it serves.

“The forum members acknowledge this brave decision of Council and we ask the people of the District also to be brave and give Tangata Whenua a chance to show the value this kaupapa will bring.

”Nā tou rourou, nāku te rourou ka ora ai te tangata - with your basket and my basket put into the same basket, the people will thrive.”

Debate on Māori wards coincides with the six yearly Representation Review which legally binds Council to consider Māori representation.

Council must publicly notify its decision by 30 November 2017. If five percent or more of the District’s electors demand a poll, the issue will be determined by a public poll.

A demand for a poll must be received by 21 February 2018 and a poll held by 21 May 2018. If there is no demand for a poll, Council’s decision is final.

The final number of Māori wards in the Western Bay (one or two) will be determined during next year’s Representation Review process.

Māori wards have been established in Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional councils. Wairoa District Council will have Māori wards at the 2019 elections as a result of a public poll. Palmerston North City Council, Manawatu and Whakatane District councils have adopted resolutions for Māori representation but are subject to the poll provision. If Māori wards are established they must remain for two triennial elections.

See Partnership Forum powerpoint presentation here. (PDF)

Notice of decision to establish Māori Wards and the right to demand a poll

Electors of Western Bay of Plenty District Council have the right to demand a poll to countermand this (see above media release) resolution and to hold a poll on the question whether the Council should be divided into one or more Māori Wards.


Advice to any group that may be embarking on a petition – Key Statutory provisions for establishing Māori Wards - Polls

  • 5% of electors may demand a poll at any time on whether a district/region needs to be divided into one or more Māori wards/constituencies (19ZB). 
  • For Western Bay of Plenty District Council the minimum number of electors is 1,708.  It is advisable that more signatures than the minimum are obtained as many people are not eligible i.e. live outside the area, are not on the electoral roll within the district, or are under 18 years of age.
  • A local authority may resolve at any time to conduct a poll on whether the district/region needs to be divided into Māori wards/constituencies (19ZD).
  • If, before 21 February in the year before election year, (2018) either a valid demand for a poll is received (s19ZB) or the local authority resolves to hold a poll (s19ZD).  This is notified to the electoral officer and the poll must be held not later than 89 days after the notification, that is, not later than 21 May in that year (2018), and the result of the poll takes effect for the next two elections (s19ZF) – 2019 and 2022.
  • If a valid demand for a poll is received after 21 February in the year before the next election (2018), the poll must be held after 21 May in that year and takes effect for the next but one election and the subsequent election (s19ZC).
  • In practice, once a demand for a poll is received, we (our electoral officer), obtains a fresh listing of electors from the Electoral Commission to check that the electors are eligible.  If the minimum number is not submitted, the demand is invalid.  It is important that any demand be readable i.e. we need to read names and addresses.
  • If a valid demand is received (i.e. the demand meets the minimum 1,708 electors) then a poll is required, and Council will need to allocate the cost of a poll (as unbudgeted expense).
  • The Representation Review will continue (as per legal requirements) to meet the deadline of no later than 31 August 2018 for council to resolve an initial proposal.

Representation Arrangements​

Council must notify the public of the initial proposal for future representation arrangements by May 2018.

 All variables must be considered – communities of interest (what is a community, where is my community), the number and names of wards, the number of Councillors and whether or not to have community boards. Council must also consider any decision made regarding the establishment of Māori wards and the impact on ward boundaries.

 Council wishes to ensure that our communities are at the heart of any possible changes to arrangements, and will be engaging with Western Bay residents from end of January 2018 through a series of online and face-to-face conversations. The opportunity to have your say will be promoted widely throughout our District closer to the time of the engagement, so stay tuned! 
Page reviewed: 24 Nov 2017 9:23am