A decision not to establish a separate Māori ward was unanimously agreed on at last week’s Full Council Meeting of the Queenstown Lakes District Council in Queenstown.
It was also established that there would be no change to the way voters chose elected representatives in local body elections, and the recommendation was to retain the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system
A report reviewing the district’s electoral representation arrangement was presented to the council- a legal requirement every six-year, which the QLDC had resolved to review prior to the 2022 triennial election.
Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) electoral officer Jane Roberston said the Local Electoral Act allowed local authorities to choose either FPP or STV (Single Transferable Vote) for local elections.
In a report, she noted the benefits of the STV system, as more likely to deliver a proportional result that reflected the make-up of the community and had the potential to attract more diverse candidates.
The Local Electoral Act sets out the process for determining the number of members to be elected to councils and community boards, selected from general and Māori wards. In the Queenstown Lakes District that was 10 elected to the council (plus a mayor) and four to the community board. That calculation was population-based.
The representation review enabled the council to take a fresh look at the structure of its membership and how members were elected, including the total number of members, whether they came from a ward or were elected ‘at large’ from across the wider district.
The review also considered community boards, their nature, and structure, and if a community board should be retained in its current form or at all.
Council had agreed to establish an independent panel or advisory group to undertake a preliminary investigation of representation arrangements. The group of five would comprise three invited members and two members of the public selected through an expression of interest process.
Full public consultation of the review was a requirement and the hearing process was planned around August/September next year.
Read edition 991 of the Wānaka Sun here.