There will be 11 councillors elected to the Taranaki Regional Council next year, including one representing a region-wide Māori constituency.
At today’s ordinary council meeting, councillors voted to confirm their initial proposal for the 2022 local body elections.
The now-final proposal will see the total number of elected members remain at 11, including 10 from the New Plymouth (5), North Taranaki (2), Stratford (1) and South Taranaki (2) general constituencies, as well as one from a new Taranaki Māori constituency.
It was one of two options discussed, with the alternative being a total of 13 councillors. That would have meant three South Taranaki general constituency members and two from one or more Māori constituencies.
However the majority believed 11 councillors was the right number for a region of Taranaki’s size and the mix of members would allow fair and effective representation for all communities of interest.
Representation reviews are a requirement of the Local Electoral Act 2001 and must be held at least every six years. This review was prompted when the Council voted earlier this year to create a Māori constituency for 2022.
Public submissions were sought on the Council’s initial proposal, with 14 received. Of those, five submitters presented their submissions in person. As a result of that hearing, councillors requested the alternative of 13 councillors be presented as an option.
The final proposal will be publicly advertised later this week, with appeals or objections able to be lodged up until 29 October.
The final proposal must then be submitted to the Local Government Commission for approval, as the Stratford population to member ratio again falls outside the guidelines. This has previously been approved by the Commission.
If appeals are received, these will also be considered by the Commission. It will have until 11 April 2022 to make its determination.