Smaller Council And More Community Boards With Expanded Roles Proposed For Future Representation Arrangements
Council is proposing to reduce councillor numbers to eight plus the mayor made up of six general ward, and two Māori ward councillors, all elected at large, and have four Community Boards with four community representatives on each, all elected at large from each ward.
The final details on the 'initial representation proposal' will be confirmed at the Council meeting on the 25th August following feedback from the National Park and Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board hui, and from two special hui on Māori wards at the Raetihi Marae (11th Aug), and Morero Marae (12th Aug) in Taumarunui.
The 'initial representation proposal' will then be consulted on for a month from 7th September to 8th October seeking feedback on Council's thinking for both General and Māori ward arrangements and Community Boards.
Mayor Cameron said that this representation review has a special significance due to the introduction of Māori Wards and the larger sector changes impacting on local government and Ruapehu communities.
“Council has been very careful to weigh and consider all the feedback and issues in coming to their initial proposal decision,” he said.
"We want to see representation arrangements that are reflective and adaptive to current and future communities and provide fair and effective representation for all.
The decision on the total number of councillors is important as this determines how many Māori ward councillors there are and their proportion of Council.
The thinking is that a smaller Council focused on governance and strategic issues supported by Community Boards focused on operational issues will provide better representation, decision-making and outcomes for all.
Expanding the number and role of Community Boards is an important part of the thinking in-order to provide a better connection to our unique communities of interest.
If implemented this would see ward based Community Boards established for Ohura-Ngapuke Rural, Taumarunui Urban, National Park (including Owhango) and Waimarino-Waiouru.”
Mayor Cameron said that he is hoping to see a high level of community engagement on the 'initial representation proposal' with people letting us know what they think either in support or otherwise.
“We have community hui scheduled for Ohakune (9 Sept), National Park (16 Sept), Taumarunui (22 Sept) and Ohura (30 Sept) that we would like to see a good turnout and discussions at.
Council must consider any feedback from the consultation on their 'initial representation proposal' then release a 'final representation proposal' within 6 weeks of the consultation period closing.
People are able to object to the 'final representation proposal' but only if they made a submission on the 'initial representation proposal' or if Council makes changes to it.
If there are any valid objections to the ‘final representation proposal’ then these are considered by the Local Government Commission who have the final say,” he said.