COUNCIL

2012 Representation arrangements review proposed new Northland constituencies 2012 Representation arrangements review proposed new Northland constituencies CREDIT: Northland Regional Council

Oct 17 hearings for NRC representation review submitters

Friday 5 October 2012, 4:43PM
By Northland Regional Council
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NORTHLAND

Public submissions on regional council plans for a more community-focussed way on how Northlanders are represented around the council table will be heard at Kaikohe and Whangarei on October 17.

As part of a six-yearly ‘representation review’ required under the Local Electoral Act 2001, Northland Regional Councillors are proposing abandoning an ‘outdated’ current model governing how and where they’re elected.

Councillors want to drop the existing model, based on the three district boundaries, and replace it with eight, smaller constituencies and a month-long submission period on that – and other aspects of the proposal - ended on October 01.

Linda Stansfield, the regional council’s General Manager - CEO's Office and Projects, says the council received 38 submissions on its proposal; 22 in support and 16 opposed.

Eleven of those submitters had wanted to be heard.  Based on where those submitters are from, hearings would begin at the regional council’s Whangarei offices at 9.30am on Wednesday, October 17, then shift to the Far North District Council offices in Kaikohe at 1pm that same day.

Ms Stansfield says opposition falls into several broad camps; submitters who did not agree with the council’s proposal to spilt the Bay of Islands into two constituencies (preferring one instead) or its proposal to split the Tutukaka Coast area.  There had also been a call from some for dedicated Maori seats on council.

The hearings to consider submissions – which would be open to the public – would conclude with deliberations and a final proposal, incorporating any changes required as a result, would be put to a special meeting of the full council in Whangarei on Tuesday, 30 October.

After the final proposal’s adoption, there is a public objection and appeal period which runs from Saturday, November 10 to Monday, December 10.

Ms Stansfield says if there are any objections or appeals, that final proposal will then be sent to the Local Government Commission, which must make its own determination on the representation arrangements no later than April 10 next year.

Either way, representation arrangements will be finalised in time for the regional council’s next local authority elections in October next year.

Meanwhile, Ms Stansfield says while the public submission period has now closed, information about the proposal is still available from the regional council’s website via:  www.nrc.govt.nz/representationreview  or from all regional council offices in Whangarei, Dargaville, Opua and Kaitaia.