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Fewer Councillors Equal Less Representation

Media Release

Fewer councillors equal less representation

The Green Party is concerned for the future of democracy in Wellington with the decision to reduce the number of Wellington City Councillors by 25 per cent.

The Local Government Commission determined yesterday that the number of councillors be reduced from 19 to 14 for this year’s local body elections.

Green List MP and former City Councillor, Sue Kedgley and Wellington Spokesperson for the Greens, Iona Pannett said they were appalled by the decision, seeing it as a blow for democracy in Wellington.

Ms Kedgley said “less representation is likely to result in less effective representation.”

Ms Pannett said “this determination highlights important flaws in the Local Electoral Act 2001. The Act allows the Commission to make such a decision without consulting the community. It should be up to but Wellingtonians to decide how many representatives Wellington has, not the Commission.”

The Commission has decided that the city should be divided up into 5 wards with Northern, Lambton, Eastern and a new Onslow-Western ward having 3 representatives each. The Southern Ward will now have 2 representatives.

Ms Kedgley and Ms Pannett said whilst they were happy the Commission had decided to maintain the ward system, they were unhappy about the combination of the Onslow-Western Ward, as they are two separate areas that are not a community of interest.

Ms Kedgley and Ms Pannett said they were disappointed with the reasoning employed by the Commission. The determination baldly states that 14 councillors is sufficient for Wellington to ensure effective representation for its communities of interest, on the basis of a mathematical formula. However, Ms Kedgley said that councils with more representatives were more effective in representing the views of constituents than smaller ones.

Ms Kedgley and Ms Pannett pointed out that no submitters to the Commission had supported such a drastic reduction in the number of councillors.

ENDS

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