Representation Review

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Looking at how you and your community are represented on council


On this page you'll find information on what a representation review is all about and how you can have your say


What's this all about?

Hutt City Council is required to review, from time to time, how well people and communities of the city are represented.

Currently, the people and communities of Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt are represented by a mayor and 12 councillors. Some communities in the city, but not all, also have another level of representation with an elected community board.

An independent panel has been appointed to review the current representation arrangements and recommend any changes that it thinks are necessary. Any agreed changes will be put in place for the next council elections in 2025.

To begin the review, the panel wants to know what people, communities and other stakeholders in the city think about Hutt City Council’s current arrangements, and what changes, if any, they think should be made.

A proposal prepared by the panel, will be considered by Council and then presented to all Lower Hutt residents for consultation in July 2024.

Any changes resulting from the representation review will be effective in the 2025 and 2028 local elections.




What is the role of the panel?

The independent panel are responsible for carrying out initial community engagement, going out to meet and talk with people all across the city. They will then prepare a report with recommendations to Council based on what they heard. They must also take into account relevant legislation when making their recommendations.

Learn more about the panel members in their profiles on this page.

The panel will carefully consider the responses received via a survey (undertaken in October & November 2023) and in their community meetings, as it prepares a detailed report for Hutt City Council on recommended representation arrangements to apply in Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt in time for the 2025 council elections.

The panel’s report will be submitted to the Council in June 2024. This report, together with a report specifically on the detailed responses the panel received from its engagement with the community, will be publicly available on this page.




Opportunities to have your say

  • We will update this page with events or hui where you can meet and chat with members of the panel as they get out and about in the community
  • Our survey to gather your feedback about representation closed on Friday 1 December 2023
  • Community consultation on the panel's recommendation will take place in July 2024

Looking at how you and your community are represented on council


On this page you'll find information on what a representation review is all about and how you can have your say


What's this all about?

Hutt City Council is required to review, from time to time, how well people and communities of the city are represented.

Currently, the people and communities of Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt are represented by a mayor and 12 councillors. Some communities in the city, but not all, also have another level of representation with an elected community board.

An independent panel has been appointed to review the current representation arrangements and recommend any changes that it thinks are necessary. Any agreed changes will be put in place for the next council elections in 2025.

To begin the review, the panel wants to know what people, communities and other stakeholders in the city think about Hutt City Council’s current arrangements, and what changes, if any, they think should be made.

A proposal prepared by the panel, will be considered by Council and then presented to all Lower Hutt residents for consultation in July 2024.

Any changes resulting from the representation review will be effective in the 2025 and 2028 local elections.




What is the role of the panel?

The independent panel are responsible for carrying out initial community engagement, going out to meet and talk with people all across the city. They will then prepare a report with recommendations to Council based on what they heard. They must also take into account relevant legislation when making their recommendations.

Learn more about the panel members in their profiles on this page.

The panel will carefully consider the responses received via a survey (undertaken in October & November 2023) and in their community meetings, as it prepares a detailed report for Hutt City Council on recommended representation arrangements to apply in Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt in time for the 2025 council elections.

The panel’s report will be submitted to the Council in June 2024. This report, together with a report specifically on the detailed responses the panel received from its engagement with the community, will be publicly available on this page.




Opportunities to have your say

  • We will update this page with events or hui where you can meet and chat with members of the panel as they get out and about in the community
  • Our survey to gather your feedback about representation closed on Friday 1 December 2023
  • Community consultation on the panel's recommendation will take place in July 2024
  • What is good representation?

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    Legislation requires there to be fair and effective representation for individuals and communities when it comes to electing the mayor and councillors for an area.

    Fair representation is about each councillor representing an approximately equal number of people.

    Effective representation is about the total number of councillors there are in relation to things like the size and geography of the area and the diversity of its people. Being effective can be considered, for example, in terms of how easy access is to your local councillor or councillors and how well councillors are able to represent the diverse range of people and interests in their area.

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  • Number of councillors

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    There may be between 5 and 29 councillors, as well as one mayor

    Hutt City Council has 12 councillors, this is on a par with councils of a similar sized population

    The final number of councillors will reflect a balance of:

    • effective representation, including the size of the city and its geography, and
    • fair representation, so that each councillor represents approximately the same number of people
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  • Options for the election of councillors

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    City Wide (or at-large)

    All voters in the city vote for all councillors to represent the city as a whole

    Pros and cons of ‘at-large’ representation systems include:

    • good for relatively small compact cities and where the population is similar in its characteristics

    • but can still be good for other cities if they have, for example, community boards

    • good for effectively representing communities of interest that are spread across the whole city, such as particular ethnic groups or interests such as disabled people

    • but the effort and cost required for candidates to campaign for election across the whole city may be a barrier

    • allows all voters to vote for all candidates standing for election

    • but is likely to result in a longer list of candidates which may discourage voters from voting

    • encourages councillors to take more of a city-wide view in their decision-making and is in line with the declaration councillors are required to make, when they are elected, to act in the interests of the city as a whole

    • but council decision-making may risk not taking more local concerns and interests into account


    Wards

    • voters in defined local areas (called wards) vote for councillors to represent that area or ward

    Pros and cons of a full ward system of representation include:

    • ensures representation for local areas

    • but may encourage more focus on local issues in council decision-making at the expense of city-wide ones

    • having locally elected councillors is likely to encourage more participation locally

    • but this participation will need to be balanced by consideration of city-wide interests

    • easier and cheaper for more candidates to stand for election to council

    • but more difficult for candidates representing city-wide interests, such as disabled people, to be elected

    • voters have a shorter list of candidates to consider and choose from at elections

    • but voters have less choice in who will represent them

    • councillors are easier to get in touch with locally and it is easier for residents to hold them accountable

    • but may encourage councillors to take a narrower, more local view in their decision-making rather than a city-wide view


    Mixed At-Large & Ward system

    • voters vote for some councillors to represent the city as a whole and for some councillors to represent their local area or ward (i.e. a mix of the other two options)

    • the mixed ‘at-large’ and ward system of representation can be a way to balance the various pros and cons of both the ‘at-large’ system and the ward system


    The majority of councils around Aotearoa New Zealand have a full ward system of representation

    • 53 out of 67 councils use the full ward system

    • 8 councils are elected 'at-large'

    • 6 councils are elected with a mix of 'at-large' and wards, including Hutt City Council


    The decision on which system to chose needs to reflect the communities in the city and in particular if these are city-wide or more local in nature.

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  • Community Boards

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    Community boards are elected at the same time as the council. Their main role is to represent and speak on behalf of their community. They may also have some decision-making responsibilities for local services. At the moment, we have community boards in Eastbourne, Petone and Wainuiomata. As an important part of a representation review, communities need to be aware of the nature and role of community boards, including the potential for them to have significant local decision-making responsibilities if given these by the council.

    • three community boards were established in Eastbourne, Petone and Wainuiomata when these areas were added to the city in 1989 as part of the local government reforms at the time
    • 39 out of 66 councils across Aotearoa New Zealand have one or more community boards in their area, including Hutt City Council

    • of the 39 councils with community boards, 11 have boards covering the whole city or district

    • community boards may have between 4 and 12 members in total

    • the board members are elected at the same time as councillors every three years

    • community board members are paid at a rate determined by the Remuneration Authority largely based on the population of the community board area

    • Hutt City Council has given these decision-making responsibilities to its three community boards:

      1. naming of streets, parks and reserves in their area

      2. removal and planting of street trees

      3. granting of leases and licences for occupying council property including recreation reserves

      4. allocation of funding from council approved budgets

      5. funding for training and development of community board members

    (some councils have given their community boards more significant decision-making responsibilities than Hutt City Council)

    • potential benefits of community boards need to be weighed against their costs including the remuneration of board members and administrative support by the Council

    • the effectiveness of community boards can be measured, in part at least, in relation to the powers and resources they have been given by the Council

    • when considering the option of having community boards we need to look at fair and effective representation along with:

      1. the possibility the area may not be well represented on council due to its low population, low councillor numbers and/or absence of wards

      2. the distinctiveness of the community concerned and the strength of a sense of identity within the community

      3. difficulty with physical access to councillors, council offices and staff

      4. the council is seeking to establish structures to allow council decision-making to take place closer to the people affected by particular council decisions

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Page last updated: 13 Jun 2024, 03:32 PM