Tauranga City Council’s Commissioners have agreed on a final proposal for the city’s future representation arrangements, in preparation for the 2022 local government election.
The Commissioners agreed that Tauranga residents would elect nine councillors – eight from general wards and one from a Māori ward – and a mayor elected at-large. The eight general wards are Mauao/Mount Maunganui, Arataki, Pāpāmoa, Welcome Bay, Matua/Otūmoetai, Bethlehem, Tauriko and Te Papa (from Greerton through the city centre to the harbour bridge). The Māori ward, Te Awanui, will cover the entire city.
The system will be in place for six years (two election cycles) or until the next review.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley said public representation was the heart of local democracy, and feedback from the community formed a crucial part of the Commissioners’ decision-making.
“Throughout the Long-term Plan discussions, we heard that the community felt ignored and forgotten by the previous representation, and a failure to ensure an equal voice from across the city frustrated them. People told us they wanted to be fairly represented, and we believe this has been achieved through improved geographical ward representation and a more even distribution of residents for each elected member.”
The Commission recommended several additional steps to achieve improved governance, including:
- Greater collaboration with the community to ensure people are more closely involved in council projects and a range of views are considered, not just those of elected members.
- The Commission supported the development of a new communications strategy that makes sure the community’s voice is heard. Different community engagement methods are encouraged that allow residents to identify solutions and provide options – not just give feedback on a draft proposal.
- A range of initiatives will be undertaken, with the aim of increasing voter participation and encouraging more diversity amongst candidates.
The Council’s Final Proposal can be appealed by those who made a submission and anyone can object to the changes made, where the Final Proposal differs from the Initial Proposal.
Any appeals and objections will be sent to the Local Government Commission for their consideration and final determination.
For more details, see: www.tauranga.govt.nz/representation