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