What is a representation review?

    All councils are required to do a review of their council arrangements every six years. It looks at how well people and communities of the city are represented.

    Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt residents and communities are currently represented by a mayor and 12 councillors.

    Petone, Wainuiomata and Eastbourne also have another level of representation with an elected community board.

    An independent panel was appointed to undertake a review and recommend any changes that it thinks are necessary.

    To begin the review, the panel worked with a wide range of people, communities and other stakeholders in the city, to see what they think about Hutt City Council’s current arrangements, and what changes, if any, they think should be made.

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

    How will voting work?

    Those on the General Electoral roll can vote for a candidate/s in the geographical ward where they live. Those in the Northern General & Central General wards get 2 votes based on the larger population of their wards, all others get 1 vote. 

    Those on the Māori Electoral roll can vote for 1 Mana Kairangi ki Tai Māori Ward Councillor.

    Everyone can vote for 5 at-large councillors.

    Everyone can vote for Mayor.

    Northern General Ward

    Vote for 2 ward councillors 

    Vote for 5 at-large councillors

    Vote for Mayor

    Central General Ward

    Vote for 2 ward councillors 

    Vote for 5 at-large councillors

    Vote for Mayor

    Western General Ward

    Vote for 1 ward councillor

    Vote for 5 at-large councillors

    Vote for Mayor

    Harbour General Ward

    Vote for 1 ward councillor

    Vote for 5 at-large councillors

    Vote for Mayor

    Wainuiomata General Ward

    Vote for 1 ward councillor 

    Vote for 5 at-large councillors

    Vote for Mayor

    Mana Kairangi ki Tai Māori Ward

    Vote for 1 ward Councillor 

    Vote for 5 at-large Councillors

    Vote for Mayor


    What have we had in the past?


    • Establishment of new council comprising a mayor and 15 councillors
    • Councillors elected from five wards (Northern, Eastern and Western wards covering most of old Lower Hutt City; Harbour Ward covering former Eastbourne and Petone boroughs and also a small part of the old Lower Hutt City; and Wainuiomata Ward covering former Wainuiomata District)
    • Establishment of three community boards for areas joining the extended city (Eastbourne, Petone and Wainuiomata)


    • A sixth, Central Ward, established covering Lower Hutt central business district and some adjoining areas
    • Total number of councillors reduced to 13
    • Three existing community boards retained


    • Six wards retained (with minor boundary alterations to some wards)
    • Total number of councillors set at 11 or 12
    • Three existing community boards retained


    • Mixed system of representation, with at-large component and six existing wards
    • Total number of councillors retained at 12
    • Three existing community boards retained

    What would happen to decision making and community input if community boards are disestablished?

    Decisions currently made at Community Board level, such as naming of streets, parks and reserves, would revert to various Council committees as is currently the case for parts of the city not represented by a Community Board. Residents would be able to engage with these council committees on decisions under consideration.

    What are Community Boards?

    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

    • 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

    How much does it currently cost to run community boards?

    In 2022/23 it cost $357,983 to run the three boards, including remuneration, overheads, training, technology and miscellaneous costs.

    Is there any change to the cost of representation under these proposed changes?

    The Remuneration Authority determines the total pool of money available for each council to pay its councillors, based on the assessed size of the council governance role. Adding an extra councillor as proposed doesn’t affect the overall pool of money, which remains the same.  This means Council would need to reallocate the existing funds to accommodate the additional councillor. 

    The Remuneration Authority also sets the rules for the payment to community boards.  If the proposal to remove community boards goes ahead, this will result in savings for Council.

    How are the number of Councillors decided?

    Under the Local Electoral Act, councils may have between 5 and 29 councillors and 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 reflects 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

    Statistics New Zealand provides calculations on the General Electoral Population (GEP) and Māori Electoral Population (MEP) for all councils to the Local Government Commission who publish them on their website. This information is the most current available, for the purposes of calculating the potential number of Māori wards in Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt.

    • Our total population is 114,000, GEP - 101,300, MEP - 12,700
    • The formula (provided in clause 2 of Schedule 1A of the Local Electoral Act 2001) is applied to give us a rounded down outcome of 1 Māori Ward.

    How was the name, Mana Kairangi ki Tai Māori Ward, chosen?

    During consultation, Chair of Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa, Kura Moeahu, recommended the name Mana Kairangi ki Tai to the independent panel, which they included in their proposal.

    What impact does the representation review have on the Māori Ward approved by Council last year?

    In accordance with the Local Electorate Act and following consultation with Mana Whenua and the community, Hutt City Council resolved on 21 November 2023 that at least one Māori Ward be established for the 2025 triennial elections. 

    This meant the current representation review needed to include a determination on how many Māori Wards there will be for those elections, the number of members for these wards, and ward boundaries and names. As there is only one Māori Ward and the number of voters on the Māori roll dictates that one representative be elected, there is no aspect of Māori Wards that requires feedback.

    Since the Council’s resolution, the Government announced it intended to amend the LEA to reinstate the previous provision that council decisions to establish Māori wards will be subject to any poll demanded by electors. This means that at the 2025 election, voters on the Māori roll will vote to select a Māori Ward Councillor, as well as a Mayor and five at-large Councillors. 

    All voters will also be asked whether Lower Hutt should continue to have a Māori Ward at the 2028 election and beyond.

    More information - https://www.dia.govt.nz/maori-wards

    Do you have to be registered on the Māori electoral roll to vote in the Māori Ward?

    Yes. Voters on the Māori electoral roll will vote for a Māori Ward Councillor, a Mayoral candidate and five at-large Councillors.

    General voters will vote for one or two geographic ward Councillors, depending on the size of their ward, a Mayoral candidate and five at-large Councillors.

    What is 'good representation'?

    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.

    Who was on the panel?

    In July 2023 Council appointed an independent panel of five community members to conduct our representation review. This decision reflected the Local Government Commission’s recommended good practice for councils doing representation reviews,

    The independent panel were responsible for carrying out community engagement; going out to meet and talk with people all across the city. They then prepared a report with recommendations to Council based on what they heard. They had to consider relevant legislation when making their recommendations.

    Learn more about the panel members on our website.

    A copy of the panel’s report detailing their engagement activities and results is available in the Documents section of this page.