Consultation on Regional Council’s Representation Arrangements

Closes in 12 days

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council seeks the views of the regional community on our proposed Representation Arrangements for the 2022 and 2025 local elections.

What we are consulting on 

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is seeking the views of the regional community on our proposed Representation Arrangements for the 2022 and 2025 local elections.

Why we are consulting  

The Regional Council is required to review its representation arrangements at least every six years. Our last Representation Review was in 2018. The Council decision in May this year to establish Māori constituenices for the 2022 and 2025 local elections means we must carry out another review now.

The scope of our consultation 

This Representation Review is to decide the number and boundaries oconstituencies and how many councillors will be elected to represent each constituency.  

The Regional Council has already decided to keep using the First Past the Post electoral system and to introduce one or more Māori constituencies. These matters are not up for debate as part of this Representation Review. 

The Regional Council proposes to: 

  • Increase the total number of councillors from 9 to 11 (including the 2 new councillors for election by voters registered on the Māori roll)
  • Retain 5 general constituencies, 
  • Set formal boundaries to establish two Māori constituencies, and  
  • Alter the boundary between the Ngaruroro and (current) Wairoa general constituencies. 
  • Incorporate Māori place names within each of our General constituencies (as well as the English name)
  • Ask kaumatua in the region to name the Māori constituencies

When deciding its initial proposal for this consultation, the Regional Council has worked to strike a balance between past decisions of the Local Government Commission - retaining communities of interest that electors identify with - and populations that meet a +/-10% requirement. We’ve also taken governance costs into consideration and practical considerations such as the size of the area councillors will be expected to serve.

The total number of Councillors to be elected will increase by two. The Council considers the additional Councillors will allow the smooth introduction of two Māori constituencies while still maintaining effective representation across the region. It will also provide sufficient Council members to share the governance workload and provide for good governance. 

More information

Timeline

Consultation on initial proposal opens - 1 September 2021

Consultations closes - 3 October 2021 8pm

Extraordinary Regional Council meeting considers submissions - 13 October 2021

Regional Council meeting - 27 October 2021

To decide final proposed Arrangements for the 2022 Local Election

By 19 November 2021 - The Regional Council must give public notice of its final Representation Arrangements

(having considered submissions to the initial proposal)

By 15 January 2022 - All documentation of the Regional Council process provided to the Local Government Commission

By 11 April 2022 - The Local Government Commission must issue its Determination

(confirmation of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Representation Arrangements for 2022 and 2025 local elections)

8 October 2022 - Local Government elections.

The Regional Council is consulting on these proposed changes to its representation arrangements – our initial proposal. Following consultation, the Council will adopt its final proposal which is then submitted for final decision by the Local Government Commission. See the timeline for more detail.

The steps taken for Council’s representation review – from the Local Government Commission’s ‘Guidelines to assist local authorities in undertaking representation reviews’ include the following.

Step 1:  Identify communities of interest within the Region

Common features of a community of interest are geography and social, economic and cultural connections, all of which contribute to the development of a shared identity. Three dimensions for recognising communities of interest are:

  • perceptual: a sense of belonging to an area or locality
  • functional: the ability to meet the community’s requirements for services
  • political: the ability to represent the interests and reconcile conflicts of the community.

Step 2:  Determine effective representation for communities of interest

Consider the number of councillors that would provide effective representation for the region as a whole, bearing in mind:

  • the diversity of the region
  • statutory obligations
  • the need for efficient and effective governance of the region.

Consider whether each identified community of interest needs separate representation in a constituency, or whether some communities of interest can be grouped together to achieve effective representation.

As far as practicable, also consider:

  • not splitting recognised communities of interest
  • not grouping together two or more communities of interest that have few common interests
  • factor in the accessibility, size, and configuration of the area concerned, including:
    • reasonable access to elected members and vice versa
    • the elected members’ ability to effectively represent the views of their electoral area and provide reasonably even representation across the area including activities like attending public meetings and opportunities for face-to-face meetings.

Step 3:  Consider fairness of representation for electors of constituencies

The key requirement for fair representation is to comply with the basic principle of population equality unless there are good reasons not to.

In the case of regional councils, constituencies may be defined in such a way that does not comply with section 19V(2) if it is considered that this is required to achieve effective representation of communities of interest (s19V(3)(b)).

A decision not to comply with section 19V(2) must be referred to the Commission for determination. Referral to the Commission is required whether or not appeals or objections have been lodged against the Council’s proposal. That referral is treated by the Commission as an appeal under the Local Electoral Act 2001.

The +/-10% “rule” is an important guide to assess fair representation, and is required under section 19V(2) of the Local Electoral Act 2001. Simply put, this rule looks to ensure each Councillor represents a similar number of people. It requires the number of people represented by each Councillor from a General constituency to be within +/-10% of the average across all elected members from the General constituencies. If the proposal does not comply with the +/-10% “rule”, it has to be approved by the Local Government Commission.

While guided by the principle of fair representation in the Local Electoral Act, the Local Government Commission balances this with the requirement to also ensure, in practical terms, constituency boundaries coincide with city and district council boundaries. The Commission sees this as important because city and district councils reflect their communities of interest based on the delivery of a wide range of day-to-day services. City and district council territories are also areas that electors closely identify with. This helps to encourage participation in local government at times of voting or when candidates stand at local elections.

A constituency is a group of voters in a specific area who elect a representative to a regional council. 

Regional councils are required to have constituencies. City and district councils have wards. 

The difference between a Māori constituency and a General constituency is that the voters in the Māori constituency are enrolled on the Māori roll. Voters in General constituencies are on the General roll. No person can be on both rolls at the same time. 

The option to establish a Māori constituency is covered in the Local Electoral Act. It is premised on Māori being a distinct ‘community of interest’ and guarantees Māori on the Māori roll representation on the Council proportional to the percentage of the voting population they make up. The Regional Council decided to establish ‘one or more’ Māori Constituencies o19 May this year. This followed community consultation during which 89% of submitters expressed their support. 

Iline with the preferences of tangata whenua representatives on the Regional Council’s Māori and Regional Planning committees, we propose to establish two Māori constituencies using the Ngaruroro River as the North-South boundary. One councillor will be elected from each. 

To achieve the +/-10%rule the population that each member represents must be in the range of 14,013 +/- 10% (12,612 to 15,414), unless particular community of interest considerations justify otherwise. 

Because this proposal does not meet the +/-10% requirement (see Table 1), the Regional Council will apply to the Local Government Commission for an exemption on the grounds that: 

  • The boundary between the two constituencies is formed by Ngaruroro Awa as requested by tangata whenua due to its cultural relevance and that this is how iwi and hapū traditionally set boundaries 

  • The +/-10% exceedance is less than 1%. 

Table 1:  The population that each Māori Constituency member will represent 

Constituency 

Māori Electoral Population 

Reps 

Population per Rep 

Difference from Average 

% Difference from Average 

Māori Constituency 1 (Northern) 

12,519  

1  

12,519 

-1,494  

-10.66% 

Māori Constituency 2 (Southern) 

15,507  

1  

15,507 

1,494  

10.66% 

Totals 

28,026  

2  

Av = 14,013 

 

 

Proposed HBRC General Constituency BoundariesThe Regional Council proposes the following five General constituencies, for the election of 9 councillors (as in Table 2 below): 

  • Tamatea-Central Hawke’s Bay
  • Heretaunga-Hastings
  • Ahuriri-Napier 
  • Ngaruroro 
  • Mohaka-Wairoa
See PDF version of map here

Changes to the current representation arrangements are proposed to the boundary between the Ngaruroro and Mohaka-Wairoa constituencies.  

The Council’s proposal moves the Wairoa boundary south to include the Tūtira and Esk Valley areasto increase the population and bring the representation ratio closer to meeting the +/-10% requirement. This also attempts to keep a sense of the “community of interest” identity. 

According to the +/-10% rule, the population that each member represents must be in the range of 15,196 +/- 10% (13,676 to 16,716), unless particular community of interest considerations justify otherwise. 

Under Council’s General constituencies proposal, the +/-10% rule will not be met in four constituencies.  So the Council proposes to apply to the Local Government Commission to get an exemption for those four constituencies based on the following rationale. 

 Tamatea-Central Hawke’s Bay 

The constituency boundary coincides with the Central Hawke's Bay District Councils's territorial authority boundary as being representative of an area that electors closely identify with. Moreover, the Council considers that extending the boundary to achieve the population increase needed to comply with the ±10% rule would limit effective representation by requiring the grouping together of communities with few commonalities across an extensive area. 

Ahuriri-Napier 

The constituency boundary coincides with the Napier City Council's  territorial authority boundary as being representative of an area that electors closely identify with, which in turn encourages participation in local government.Moreoverchanging the boundary would require either separating identified communities of interest, or grouping together communities of interest with few commonalities. 

Ngaruroro 

The Council considers that changing the boundary to achieve the population decrease needed to comply with the ±10% rule would limit effective representation as it would require further splitting this mostly rural community of interest, which shares the Hastings District Council's  rural community board area that electors closely identify with. 

Mohaka-Wairoa 

The Council considers that further extending the boundary to achieve the population increase needed to comply with the ±10% rule would limit effective representation for several communities isolated from each other across geographically challenging landscapes and require the grouping together of communities with few commonalities across an extensive area. 

 

Table 2:  The population that each General Constituency member will represent 

Constituency 

General Electoral Population 

Reps 

Population per Rep 

Difference from Average 

% Difference from Average 

Tamatea-Central Hawke’s Bay 

11,955 

1 

11,955 

-3,243

-21.34% 

Ahuriri-Napier 

53,940 

3 

17,980 

2,782

18.30% 

Mohaka-Wairoa 

5,691 

1 

5,691 

-9,507

-62.56% 

Heretaunga-Hastings 

47,928 

3 

 15,976

778

5.12% 

Ngaruroro 

17,271 

1 

17,271 

2073

13.64% 

Total 

136,785

9 

Av: 15,198

 

 

 

Submissions

If you’d like to submit on this consultation, we welcome submissions using the online form below no later than 8pm on Sunday, 3 October 2021.

Please note: your submission is not saved as you go, you will need to complete your feedback and submit in one sitting.

Follow this link if the form fails to load. online form.
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