Less than a week to have your say on council model
Kapiti Coast District Mayor K Gurunathan is urging residents to have their say on the Council’s democratic model before consultation closes next week (5pm Monday 4 October).
“We’ve had an excellent response with more than 240 submissions so far. This consultation is about how you are represented on Council. It’s important we get your views,” Mayor Gurunathan said.
People are being asked if they agree with the Council’s proposal to change from four wards to three larger ones without community boards. The proposal retains the current arrangement of a mayor elected from across the district plus 10 councillors with five elected locally by ward and five elected district-wide.
Councillors were required to put forward a preferred option for public feedback. The final proposal could be unaltered, or a compromise between what people want and what the legislation allows.
Councillors felt the mixed model of ward and district-wide councillors provided a balance between councillors who were close to issues in their community and ones who took a district wide view.
The proposal of three larger wards would keep communities of interest together and create similar ratios of councillors to populations in each new ward to fix the current situation where Waikanae is significantly under-represented, Mayor Gurunathan said.
“The world has changed a lot since 2004 when our current arrangements were put in place. Council and our communities communicate and engage very differently with one another now than they did 17 years ago. Councillors are open to exploring better, more contemporary options for improving the public’s accessibility to elected representatives or having their voices heard, but there was also a minority view in favour of retaining community boards.
“It’s important to note the qualitative research at the start of the review explored different concepts of representation, including those that reflect community boards,” he said.
“The research noted people's reactions to those different concepts, and asked questions to understand the reasons behind their reactions. We wanted to understand what people want to achieve through their rep arrangements, and what might stand in the way of achieving that. It was not a vote for or against community boards, it was an effort to discover how people want to be represented from the starting point of a blank piece of paper.
“Now is the time for the community to have that debate and guide councillors towards a final decision,” Mayor Gurunathan said.
The consultation had started under heightened COVID-19 alert levels due to the need to meet legislative timeframes, but people could now get copies of the consultation document and make submissions at libraries or online, he said.
Go to haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt.nz/representation-review. Consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 4 October.