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Marlborough’s Representation Review Gets Underway

Three councillors were appointed today to oversee the community consultation process for Marlborough District Council’s representation review, which will consider whether councillors are elected as a whole or through a ward structure, or through a combination of both.

Councillors Nadine Taylor, Gerald Hope and David Croad were appointed to the group, alongside Mayor John Leggett.

The representation review is a formal process required under the Local Electoral Act 2001. Every six years a council considers and proposes to the public the basis on which it will be elected at the next elections, and how many elected members there should be, excluding the Mayor. The public has a right to make submissions to the Council’s initial proposal and also appeal or object to its final proposal.

Mayor John Leggett said: “The key things we need to consider through the consultation process are ensuring there is effective and fair representation into the future, and that Marlborough’s ‘communities of interest’ are represented appropriately.”

“We want to hear what people think about how we elect councillors. We plan to go on the road and discuss these issues with the public.”

He said there were a number of questions for people to consider:

  • is the current council ward structure fit for purpose?
  • should we instead elect all councillors ‘at large’ and not have a ward structure?
  • if we have a ward structure, what are the ward boundaries and names?
  • should we consider having community boards?
  • if the Council establishes a Māori ward, how does that impact the overall representation formula for Marlborough?

“There are a number of potential scenarios to consider for Marlborough’s future representation structure. There is some complexity to this but through the consultation process we will help explain what the options are.”

He said that under local government legislation, a population formula determines the number of councillors to be elected for each ward.

“This formula and how it affects Marlborough is key, especially with recent demographic changes here.”

“With a wards based electoral system, the ratio of elected members cannot exceed plus or minus 10 per cent of the total number of elected members, divided into the total population of the district. That means in essence the ratio of elected members to the members of the community.”

“However, in a totally ‘elected at large’ system this formula does not apply. In a mixed system the formula only applies to the ward area and does not impact on the ‘at large’ members.”

Review process – key dates

  • April 2021 – consideration of Māori representation (this is a separate but parallel process to the representation review. The Council will seek the views of Marlborough’s eight iwi on whether they support the creation of a Māori ward)
  • April 2021 – develop and discuss options
  • By end of May 2021 – approve the initial proposal for public consultation
  • July/August 2021 – submission and hearings, then a final decision and public notice
  • September/October 2021 – close of objections and appeals
  • October 2021 – all relevant information provided to the Local Government Commission
  • Before 10 April 2022 – the Local Government Commission delivers its determination.

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