Council to consider the shape of our local democracy
Councillors will consider Kāpiti’s local democratic arrangements for the 2022 local body elections at next week’s council meeting, Kāpiti District Mayor K Gurunathan says.
At the meeting, councillors will finalise a preferred option for Kāpiti Coast District’s representation arrangements for 2022 which will be tested through public consultation from 1 September to 4 October.
Mayor Gurunathan says councils are required to review their representation arrangements at least every six years.
“Council is the voice of local people. Councillors must represent and balance a range of interests, so it is important our community feels they’re represented fairly and effectively. Our current arrangements have been in place since 2004, so it’s timely we take a fresh look to see if they remains fit for purpose. This involves looking again at our wards and boundaries, the number of councillors and whether they’re elected locally or across the district, and whether we have community boards.
“Councillors have been working through this since early this year. We’ve seen the results of research and engagement with our community and considered a range of possible representation options. The results of public surveys, interviews and workshops that were undertaken earlier in the year indicated our community has mixed views about the ways our local democracy is working,” he said.
“Councillors are taking this feedback and advice on legislative requirements into consideration to develop an initial proposal which we’ll consider at our next meeting, before going out to consultation with our community,” Mayor Gurunathan said. “We will look forward to hearing the views of the community and will maintain an open mind.”
Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, councillors can only put forward one option for consultation. Following consultation, councillors will consider the community feedback and whether any changes are required before making a final decision in November. The final proposal will go to the Local Government Commission for a determination if there are any appeals or objections, or if the final proposal doesn’t comply with the legislation in any way (such as meeting rules around the need for similar ratios of councillors to ward populations within ten percent).
The meeting agenda, Council report and research results are available on the Council website. Find out more at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/your-council/the-role-of-council/representation-review-2021.