Draft Submission on Representation Review by Tairawhiti Residents Association

Below is the draft submission on the Gisborne District Council’s Initial Proposal for the Representation Review 2017.

TRA welcomes input from the public on this draft submission. Please send comments by 10 April to: feedback@tra.net.nz


 

Tairāwhiti Residents Association (TRA) is a network of residents in the Gisborne District.

TRA does not support the current representation proposal to increase the number of councilors to fourteen.

The TRA supports Manu Caddie’s submission to reduce the number of councilors to seven, five in the city and two rural. The TRA would like to see the ward number reduced to three (western rural, northern rural and the city) and the introduction of three new corresponding community boards.

The TRA supports this new proposal for the following reasons:

  • Adding 12 to 15 community board representatives will significantly improve democracy in our region, particularly access to representatives in the rural areas. This will better address ‘effective representation’ LGC criteria.
  • The initial proposal supported by GDC will result in too many councilors for effective decision making, the sensible allocation of roles and economic considerations. Guidelines recommend a maximum of 14 representatives for regional councils.
  • The continual need to review ward boundaries, to compensate for the reducing number of rural residents, is becoming nonsensical. As rural boundaries encroach on the city, to make up the numbers, this is contrary to the Communities of Interest
  • The introduction of community boards will create an excellent pathway for prospective councilors and provide a greater selection of experienced representatives for residents to choose from during elections. Candidates can stand for both roles at an election.
  • The caliber of elected councilors will improve as competition increases for the reduced number of seats around the council table.
  • The introduction of community boards will allow our unitary authority to better focus on both its district council and regional regulatory responsibilities. The current rural/urban divide at council, on many issues, is counterproductive.
  • The introduction of community boards will restore the social responsibility role of representatives. With less onerous meeting hours the role of a community board member will appeal to a wider section of the community improving representation.

Background: Our understanding is that there are 78 councils in NZ and 40 that have a total of 110 community boards. There are 1600 local representatives, an average of 8.5. The average council has 85,000 residents, GDC has 44,000.

We wish to be heard on this submission.


 

 

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