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Council Urges Submissions In Representation Review

Hamilton City Council is urging residents to have their say on Council’s proposed new structure, as part of its representation review.

The initial proposal adds two new citywide Maaori ward seats, bringing the total to 14 councillors plus the mayor.

As of last week, there had been only 227 submissions. Of these, 70 are in support of the initial proposal.

“An analysis of the current data tells us that young people, Maaori and other ethnic groups are underrepresented in our responses so far,” said Council’s Governance Manager, Becca Brooke.

“This review is about ensuring fair and effective representation for all Hamiltonians, so we need to hear from those underrepresented groups. Whether you support the initial proposal or not, now is your chance to have your say."

Earlier this year, Council unanimously voted to introduce Maaori wards following consultation with the community. More than four out of five (81%) of the 991 responses received indicated support Council introducing Maaori wards, to achieve better representation.

Now, Council has an initial proposal of how the Council table could be structured with the addition of Maaori wards.

The initial proposal is:

  • six councillors from the East Ward and six councillors from the West Ward elected by those who live on each side of the Waikato River
  • the mayor elected by all voters
  • two new Maaori Ward councillors will be elected citywide by those on the Maaori electoral roll.

In the submissions so far, there are some misconceptions about the proposal and what a representation review involves. Council wants to bust those myths and ensure that Hamiltonians are well informed.

Myth #1: Will adding more councillors will increase the cost to ratepayers?

Adding two new councillors would not increase the cost to ratepayers. The salary pool for councillors is set independently by the Remuneration Authority and is based on the population size index. The pool is then split between councillors.

Myth #2: Do you have to be Maaori to run as a candidate for a Maaori ward seat?

No, you do not have to be Maaori to run as a candidate for a Maaori ward seat. The only requirement to run as a candidate for any elected member position on Council is that you have to be an NZ citizen and enrolled on the parliamentary electoral roll.

Myth #3: Why are there only two Maaori ward seats proposed?

The proposed number of Maaori ward seats represents the Maaori electoral population (MEP) of Hamilton as a proportion of the total population, as is legally required. Currently the MEP is 15.1% of the total population, which means if there are 14 councillors in total, two (or 14.3%) of them must be Maaori seats.

Myth #4: Can I share my opinion on the introduction of Maaori wards?

If you want, but that’s not what we’re consulting on now, so these comments won’t be taken into consideration. We consulted on the introduction of Maaori wards back in April and this has already been decided by Council.

Myth #4: My opinion doesn’t matter.

So far there have been very few responses submitted. Every voice counts, and we want every Hamiltonian to have their say.

Hamiltonians have until 6 October to put forward a submission on Council’s proposal. Council will then hear verbal submissions on 13 October, with a final decision due on 11 November. That decision is then subject to an appeal period.

All information about the proposal and process, and the online submission form can be found at www.yourcityelections.co.nz

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