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Time to speak up on council representation

Time to speak up on council representation

How do you want your regional council to represent you?

That’s the question Environment Bay of Plenty is asking right now.

The council wants people’s views on a proposal to cut councillor numbers from 14 to 10. It is calling for submissions on the topic.

If it goes ahead, the proposal means eight general seats and two dedicated Maori seats will be vied for at the local body election in October 2007. At the moment, there are 11 general constituency seats and three Maori constituency seats.

Chairman John Cronin says the current number of councillors is too unwieldy. “It’s all about being efficient and effective,” he explains. The proposal also better reflects changes in the location of the region’s population.

Under the proposed system, the region would split into three general constituencies instead of four. Two councillors would represent an extended eastern Bay area and two the Rotorua area. The remaining four councillors would represent a combined Tauranga and western Bay of Plenty constituency.

The three Maori constituencies created for the last election would be re-shaped into two. One would run as a band along the coastal strip from the East Cape to Tauranga, including Matakana Island and parts of Tauranga Harbour. The other would encompass the Rotorua district and inland areas.

The proposed reduction in Maori constituency seats would not change that sector’s proportion of representation in the council forum, Mr Cronin says. They would have two voices out of 10 instead of three out of 14, which is still about 20%, as required by law.

Submissions are open until Friday 28 July. For more information about the proposal and how to make a submission, call Environment Bay of Plenty on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or go to www.envbop.govt.nz.


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