Wellington Scoop

Kāpiti Council to take “fresh look” at wards for election

Press Release – Kāpiti Coast District Council
Councillors will consider Kāpiti’s local democratic arrangements for the 2022 local body elections at next week’s council meeting, Kāpiti District Mayor K Gurunathan says.

At the meeting, councillors will finalise a preferred option for Kāpiti Coast District’s representation arrangements for 2022 which will be tested through public consultation from 1 September to 4 October.

Mayor Gurunathan says councils are required to review their representation arrangements at least every six years.

“Council is the voice of local people. Councillors must represent and balance a range of interests, so it is important our community feels they’re represented fairly and effectively. Our current arrangements have been in place since 2004, so it’s timely we take a fresh look to see if they remains fit for purpose. This involves looking again at our wards and boundaries, the number of councillors and whether they’re elected locally or across the district, and whether we have community boards.

“Councillors have been working through this since early this year. We’ve seen the results of research and engagement with our community and considered a range of possible representation options. The results of public surveys, interviews and workshops that were undertaken earlier in the year indicated our community has mixed views about the ways our local democracy is working,” he said.

“Councillors are taking this feedback and advice on legislative requirements into consideration to develop an initial proposal which we’ll consider at our next meeting, before going out to consultation with our community,” Mayor Gurunathan said. “We will look forward to hearing the views of the community and will maintain an open mind.”

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, councillors can only put forward one option for consultation. Following consultation, councillors will consider the community feedback and whether any changes are required before making a final decision in November. The final proposal will go to the Local Government Commission for a determination if there are any appeals or objections, or if the final proposal doesn’t comply with the legislation in any way (such as meeting rules around the need for similar ratios of councillors to ward populations within ten percent).

The meeting agenda, council report and research results are available on the Council website. Find out more at: www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/your-council/the-role-of-council/representation-review-2021

Report from Kapiti Independent News
The Kāpiti Coast Council is planning to do away with some or all of its Community Boards. A staff report for next week’s Council meeting proposes ‘(the) current Ōtaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu-Raumati, and Paekākāriki Community Boards be dis-established.’

The proposal, yet to be voted on by the Mayor and 10 councillors, would remove a whole layer of local Government — the layer closest to the various communities.

(Four options have been under consideration. Under two options there would be no Community Boards at all. The other options include Community Boards for Otaki and Paekakariki, the rest of the district misses out).

The Council report says it ‘recommends the District Council resolves its initial proposal for representation arrangements for the 2022 local authority elections and that this proposal be notified for public consultation.’

The Council staff report says the reasons that the initial proposal does not include community boards is because ‘Council is satisfied that the existing communities of interest are represented by the proposed ward structure, and that there are alternative ways to maintain and strengthen local community representation within Kāpiti Coast District Council structures.’