Time is running out for Northlanders to have their say on regional council plans for a
more community-focussed way on how they are represented around the council table.
As part of a six-yearly ‘representation review’ required under the Local Electoral Act 2001 regional councillors are proposing abandoning an ‘outdated’ current model governing how and where they’re elected.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 - ends on Monday (subs: 01 October).
In drawing the boundaries for the proposed new constituencies, the council looked at range of factors including where Northlanders felt a ‘sense of identity’ and similarities in demographic, socio-economic and ethnic characteristics. It also weighed up river catchments, significant roads and topographical features, land use and shared facilities such as schools, marae, shops and recreational facilities.
As part of the proposed revamp, the number of regional councillors would also increase by one to nine - but the cost of that extra councillor would be covered within councillors’ existing $388,840 salary pool. (Nine councillors to share the same money currently paid to eight.)
The moves are designed to strengthen the representation Northlanders get at the council table and aim to empower communities to both better serve their own needs and aspirations and contribute to regional decision-making.
Information about the proposal is available from the regional council’s website via: www.nrc.govt.nz/representationreview Copies of its proposal are also available from all regional council offices in Whangarei, Dargaville, Opua and Kaitaia.
Once the submission period ends, there will be public hearings as required, before the council adopts a final proposal. That final proposal will then be sent to the Local Government Commission to be finalised in time for local authority elections in October next year.
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