Representation Review 2021

We want to hear your thoughts on the governance arrangements for Porirua City

Council recently voted to establish a Māori ward for Porirua City in the 2022 and 2025 local elections. Because of this, we now have to review the representation arrangements for the city, following a process contained in the Local Electoral Act.

In other words, we need to look at how many councillors we have, the areas or wards they represent and more.

We’re not reviewing the decision to establish a Māori ward – that’s already agreed. But the creation of a Māori ward means our current wards will need to change.

Council last reviewed their representation arrangements in 2018.

Our Initial Proposal will open for public consultation on 8 September 2021.

20 May 2021 Council resolved to establish a Māori ward for the 2022 and 2025 local elections
5 July to 16 July 2021 We seek preliminary feedback from the public
16 July to 18 August
2021
Council considers that initial feedback and develops an initial proposal
19 August 2021 Te Puna Kōrero considers a proposed initial proposal
26 August 2021 Council adopts an initial proposal to go out for formal public consultation in the form of public submissions
8 September 2021 Submission period open
8 October 2021 Submission period closes
21 October 2021 Te Puna Kōrero hears and considers submissions
11 November 2021 Council adopts a final representation proposal to go out for formal public consultation in the form of public objections or appeals
19 November 2021 Formal objection / appeal period opens
20 December 2021 Formal objection / appeal period closes

At the moment you’re represented by a mayor and 10 councillors. Councillors are elected from three general wards.

The Eastern /Pāuatahanui ki te uunga mai o te ra ward elects four councillors, the Northern /Pukerua ki te Raki ward elects four councillors, and the Western / Titahi Rangituhi Porirua ki te uru Ward elects two councillors.

There are no community boards.

These wards will have to change because the creation of a Māori ward will alter the number of people in each of the current wards.

Unsure what ward you are currently in? Use our ward finder to find out.

How it works

Porirua City Council will be reviewing its representation arrangements according to legislation and guidelines provided by the Local Government Commission:

  1. First, we will identify the city’s communities of interest
  2. Next, we will consider how to best provide representation for those communities, including whether or not there should be community boards
  3. Last, we have to consider the fairness of representation so that each elected member represents about the same number of people

Options for Representation

Under the Local Electoral Act, Council can decide to have any number of councillors between 5 and 29 (plus the mayor) to provide fair and effective representation for the city.

Regardless of the number of councillors we have, the total amount paid to elected members remains the same, it is just split amongst more or less councillors. One thing to remember is that a higher remuneration for each councillor might attract candidates to stand for Council who otherwise wouldn’t be able to, because of other work commitments.

Porirua City Council currently has a similar number of councillors to its neighbouring Councils:

Council Number of Councillors Approx. ratio of Councillors
to population
Porirua City Council 10 plus Mayor 1: 5,288
Upper Hutt City Council 10 plus Mayor 1: 4,708
Kapiti Coast District
Council
10 plus Mayor 1: 5,703
Hutt City Council 12 plus Mayor 1: 9,315
Wellington City Council 14 plus Mayor 1: 15,437

Another consideration is that under the Local Electoral Act, the number of councillors that can be elected from a Māori ward is determined by a formula. Because of the city’s large Māori population, if we decide to have 11 or fewer councillors, one would be elected from a Māori ward, and if we have 12 or more councillors, there would be two councillors elected from one or two Māori wards.

Council needs to decide how many councillors is the right number for Porirua City, and you can help determine this.

Councillors can be elected from wards, or across the city as a whole (city-wide), or a mixture of both. Whether elected from wards or city-wide, Councillors declare that they will act in the best interests of the whole of Porirua City.

One view is that using a ward system to elect councillors makes sure there is a fair mix of representatives from all parts of the city. Another point of view is that the method of voting we use – the Single Transferrable Voting (STV) system already provides for the election of a diverse Council that is representative of the residents of Porirua City.

A mixed system where some councillors are elected from wards, and some from across the city could be seen to give a balance between representation of city-wide interests, and local concerns.

It is important to note that electors on the Māori electoral roll will be able to vote for the Mayor, any councillors standing city-wide, and a councillor standing in the Māori ward. Electors on the general roll will be able to vote for the Mayor, any councillors standing city-wide, and the relevant general ward.

Electing some councillors city-wide would give voters a larger choice of candidates to vote for, rather than restricting them to voting only for candidates from one ward.

The wards themselves can be as few (bigger wards) or as many (smaller wards) as Council decides is best to provide effective representation across the city.

Each general ward must provide broadly the same number of people per councillor, or within 10% +/- of each other. As Council has decided to establish a Māori ward, the population used to calculate how big general wards should be does not include the Māori electoral population. As such, our current ward boundaries fall outside the 10% +/- provision, as follows:

Current ward General electoral
population
Councillors Average Complies with 10%+/-
rule?
% Variation
Northern /Pukerua ki te
Raki
22,800 4 5,700 YES + 7.8%
Eastern /Pāuatahanui ki
te uunga mai o te ra
21,300 4 5,325 YES + 0.6%
Western / Titahi
Rangituhi Porirua ki te uru
8,780 2 4,390 NO - 16.9%

This means that the current ward boundaries will need to change as part of this representation review.

The Local Government Commission describes it like this:

“…. A community of interest is the area to which one feels a sense of belonging and to which one looks for social, service, and economic support. Geographic features and the roading network can affect the sense of belonging to an area. The community of interest can often be identified by access to the goods and services needed for everyday existence…”

In its day to day operations the Council uses a wide view of the definition of community of interest. We regularly consult with a number of communities, including Ngāti Toa Rangatira; geographic communities of interest through resident associations; directly with the business community through the Chamber of Commerce; with children and young people through regular engagement processes and with the numerous faith based, cultural, sports, social, and, environmental organisations in Porirua City.

A community board is an elected body that works at the grass-roots level in a specific geographic area.

What does a community board do?

The role of a community board is to:

  • represent, and act as an advocate for, the interests of its community; and
  • consider and report on all matters referred to it by the territorial authority, or any matter of interest or concern to the community board; and
  • maintain an overview of services provided by the territorial authority within the community; and
  • prepare an annual submission to the territorial authority for expenditure within the community; and
  • communicate with community organisations and special interest groups within the community; and
  • undertake any other responsibilities that are delegated to it by the territorial authority.

Powers and Functions of a Community Board

Community boards are not autonomous bodies. Their functions, duties, and powers are delegated to them by the Council. They must operate within governing legislation, including processes contained in the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 as well as the Local Government Act 2002.

Usually community boards advise their Council of local concerns, oversee any works and services in their area, make submissions in terms of their local needs and priorities for the Council’s long-term plans and establish contacts with local organisations and groups. Community boards function as another layer of representation, and can work as the Council’s communication link with the local community, for example by providing a public forum opportunity at community board meetings where members of the community can come to speak about issues.

Cost of Community Boards

The rules for the payment of salaries and expenses to elected members, including community board members, are set by the Remuneration Authority.

There would be additional administrative costs in providing support to community boards, that mainly relate to supporting the meetings (preparing and distributing agendas, minuting meetings, and additional officer time in preparing reports).

We would expect there to be some cost to pay for the meeting venues, as community boards would most likely meet in halls within their respective communities. These may not necessarily be halls owned by Council.

Councillor and Community Board Remuneration

Councillors and community board salaries are paid for from rates. Regardless of the total number of councillors, the total amount available remains unchanged, and is split amongst more or less members.

Feedback

Formal consultation with the community on Council’s initial proposal will take place between 8 September 2021 and 8 October 2021. The initial proposal will be uploaded to this page, and will be available in hard copy from any library, and our front counter at 16 Cobham Court, Porirua.

Council will then consider any issues raised through your submissions before deciding on its final representation proposal on 11 November 2021.

The Council is here to represent you – thanks for your help to make sure we’ve got the right mix.