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Hauraki Representation Review Will Subtract Not Add

Posted 10 July 2018 by Gold FM in Council Matters

Hauraki District Council has advertised its intention to carry out a representation review but some residents are not happy with the way the process and communication about the representation review are being handled.

Despite Waihi being entitled to an extra representative on the Hauraki District Council because its population is 990 more than the Ngatea Ward and 1,190 more than Paeroa, the majority of Councillors, including two from Waihi voted to reduce the number of council representatives across the district to 3 for each Ward, instead of the current 4 per Ward and not allow an extra representative for Waihi.

Council resolved to adopt the 3/3/3 scenario and not allow for community boards to be established as its initial proposal for the representation review at its meeting on 27 June 2018.

It’s also worth noting that fair representation based on the current three wards and current 12 councillors is still not achieved for Waihi.

Mayor John Tregidga said, “A reduction in councillor numbers could result in greater diversity around the Council table and a more efficient council overall."
“It’s a bit of a paradox, but because councillor’s salaries are to be paid as a percentage of a fixed overall pool, reducing numbers would mean the remaining individual councillors would earn a little bit more, which we hope might make it affordable for more people to consider standing.”
He said the proposal to continue with an even number of councillors across all wards reflects the current council's view of Hauraki as `one district’.

The Mayor also said in the media statement released this morning, "The District currently has more councillors per head of its population (estimated around 20,000 in 2018) than most other districts in the country with one Mayor (elected by the whole district) and 12 councillors - four representing the Waihi Ward, four representing the Paeroa Ward and four representing the Hauraki Plains Ward. There are no community boards. In comparison, Hamilton City has 12 councillors to represent around 160,000 people."
“The Remuneration Authority has done enormous work and extensive research into this, which has shown a number of districts are over-represented and that Hauraki is one of the worst.” 
We’ve been in touch with the Remuneration Authority to ask for confirmation of the Mayor’s statement and to point us to information regarding the Hauraki district being overrepresented and one of the worst. Their response was “The statement is the view that the Mayor of the Hauraki District Council has drawn from work recently completed by the Remuneration Authority which showed an enormous variation in populations represented by councils who have a similar number of councillors. The comments that you have provided to us are Mayor Tregidga’s own personal comments."

What happens next?
The council considers all submissions and may change its proposals as a result. If a person who made a submission is not satisfied with the council’s amended proposal they can appeal against it.

If a council receives any objection it must refer the whole representation review to the Local Government CommissionI no later than 15 January in the year of the election.