Ahuriri retains representation in 2019 elections
Published on 12 April 2019
The People have Spoken and will Continue to: Local Government Commission's Determination upholds case for special representation requirements of Ahuriri Ward for 2019 Local Elections
After carrying out a Representation Review in 2018 in the lead-up to this year's local elections, the Waitaki District Council identified that the prime concern was that the Ahuriri Ward did not comply with population versus representation percentage requirements: section 19V (2) of the Local Electoral Act (commonly known as the '+/- 10%' effective representation rule).
There was a risk that the Local Government Commission could decide that the discrepancy was too great, and would combine Ahuriri and Corriedale Wards, as it had done for the 2004 election (subsequently overturned for the 2007 election.) The Ahuriri Ward has a distinctive character and a number of isolated communities, meaning it needs a separate Councillor and Community Board to be effectively represented. In order to not adversely affect the representation of those Waitaki residents living in the ward, Council's proposal was to reconfigure the boundary so that the percentage of non-compliance would be reduced and the ward would retain representation and a voice of its own.
Waitaki District Council Chief Executive Fergus Power said, "There was a huge team effort involved in this - across multiple units within Council, including project management by the governance advisory team, the creation of extremely detailed maps and scenarios by Waitaki's GIS experts, through to Councillors and the Community Boards, public submissions and feedback received, and excellent work by the Communications team."
On April 10, 2019 the Local Government Commission's Determination on the Representation Review 2018 for Waitaki District Council was received. It upheld Council's final proposal to allow the Ahuriri Ward to not comply with section 19V (2) of the Local Electoral Act (commonly known as the '+/- 10%' effective representation rule).
A key consequence of this determination is that the Ahuriri and Corriedale Ward boundaries will be redrawn (to replicate the Otago and Canterbury Regional Council boundaries), and Duntroon will become part of the Ahuriri Ward as there was felt to be a community of interest between those in the Duntroon area and the balance of the Ahuriri Ward. The new arrangement will come into effect for the Local Elections on 12 October 2019.
Mayor for Waitaki Gary Kircher acknowledged the positive determination from the Local Government Commission, "the confirmation of our Representation Review is very good news, following a significant team effort from staff and elected members. The change to the boundary between Corriedale and Ahuriri Wards helps to cement their separate identities, by bringing Ahuriri closer to the average population per councillor target. The downside is that the Ahuriri Ward is now approximately 60% of the entire Waitaki District land area, but the one councillor there will have the benefit of an effective community board to help share the representation workload."
"Overall, I believe we will have a structure with our Councillors and Community Boards which will ensure appropriate representation across Waitaki following this year's election. The rest is up to the voters," he said.
A full report on the Determination and its implications for Waitaki district for the Local Elections on 12 October and beyond will be presented to the 30 April Council Meeting.