Kāpiti Coast District Councillors confirm decisions on democratic reviews
Kāpiti Coast District Councillors made decisions this week on the future shape of representative democracy for the District.
Mayor K Gurunathan said in consultation with Council’s three iwi partners, Councillors resolved not to include a Māori ward for electoral purposes.
The option was not seen by Councils’ iwi partners as the most effective means of strengthening their already-strong Council partnership.
Councillors also resolved to run a Council-led representation review process, rather than have community engagement led by an independent panel.
“On balance, Councillors considered running the review in-house would be more efficient. This will allow the review to benefit from Councillors’ and staff experience and expertise,” said Mayor Gurunathan.
The third part of the democratic review saw Councillors, at their 27 August meeting, vote to maintain the Single Transferable Voting (STV) system.
The STV system is a form of preferential voting. Electors have a single vote and rank candidates in the order they prefer. Kāpiti Coast District Council has used the STV system for every local body election since the option first became available in 2004.
Mayor K Gurunathan said Council will engage the community on a representation review early in the new year.
The representation review will ask the community to consider:
- the total number of councillors there should be for the district
- deciding whether councillors are elected from wards or ‘at large’ across the whole district, or by a mix of both wards and ‘at large’
- the number and boundaries of wards and constituencies, and their names
- whether there should be community boards in the district and, if so, the number of boards; their names and boundaries; the number of members for each board including any appointed members.
“The review process, set out by the Local Government Commission, involves seeking early community input, developing options, then formally consulting on those options,” said Mayor Gurunathan.
“We’ll engage with a wide cross-section of our community and hope to hear from as many people as possible.”
The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires councils to regularly review their democratic arrangements to ensure residents’ representation remains fair and effective and evolves as districts grow and change. Once final, the outcome of the democratic reviews will stay in effect for six years (two election cycles).