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ECan decides on future representation structure


October 13, 2006

ECan decides on future representation structure recommendation

Environment Canterbury’s role in developing its preferred representation structure was completed this week. “The council’s preferred position will now be considered by the Local Government Commission,” said ECan chairman Sir Kerry Burke. Last week, submitters were able to make their submissions in person at meetings in Christchurch and Timaru.

“This has been a difficult and complex process with 360 submissions received, many of them urging the retention of a separate Waitaki constituency. The council has also agreed that retaining a separate Waitaki constituency, although not meeting the plus or minus ten per cent population-based rule, is its preferred option.”

Cr Robert Johnston, who chaired the Representation Review Committee, said the preferred structure or representation to this point was never going to be an easy decision, with views on population and different configurations of constituencies varying widely across the spectrum of submissions.

“However, I am very pleased that the council has recommended the number of Canterbury regional councillors remain at 14 and that Christchurch continue to be represented by eight councillors from four constituencies. That leaves six councillors from five “rural” constituencies representing the rest of Canterbury – from Kaikoura to the Waitaki catchment.

“Importantly, it has been agreed to retain Waitaki and South Canterbury as separate constituencies. It was far more difficult to resolve the issues of matching effective representation of communities of interest while working at the same time to achieve the ten per cent population-based rule for the rest of the region including Christchurch,” Cr Johnston said.

Both North Canterbury and Selwyn/Banks Peninsula ECan constituencies would incorporate parts of the edge of Christchurch city under the recommendation, in order to better meet the population requirements in the Local Electoral Act.

The Ellesmere area of Selwyn District would move to a new regional Rakaia constituency with Ashburton District (this constituency is currently called Ashburton). Parts of northern Christchurch, south of the Waimakariri River, would move into the North Canterbury constituency. Geraldine would remain with Timaru as part of South Canterbury.

ENDS

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