Taranaki Regional Council is taking community feedback on board and will consider two options for its representation arrangements ahead of the 2022 elections.
The Council’s initial proposal saw the total number of councillors remain at 11, including one Māori constituency representative. The South Taranaki constituency would go from three to two elected members while all other constituencies would remain at the status quo.
During public consultation 14 written submissions were received, with five submitters opting to present to councillors. That hearing was held today via audio-visual link.
A theme throughout the submissions was the need for stronger Māori representation on the Council. Many made the case for two Māori elected members rather than one – either from a region-wide Māori constituency or by dividing the region into two.
Under current legislation, that could only happen if the total number of councillors was increased to either 13 or 14.
A submission was also heard on behalf of Federated Farmers in favour of maintaining three South Taranaki members, for the most effective rural representation.
Following the hearing councillors voted to include a second option for discussion at the Council meeting on 21 September, when a final decision will be made.
Option two comprises a total of 13 elected members, including two from a Māori constituency or constituencies, three from South Taranaki and the current Stratford (one), North Taranaki (two) and New Plymouth (five) members.
Council chairman David MacLeod says the end goal is quality representation for the region as a whole, in a way that is fair for all communities of interest.
“We want to thank everyone who took the time to provide their feedback, which has been extremely useful. We will carefully consider both options before us before making our final decision next month.”
Note - Councillors are paid from a set total pool of remuneration, which remains the same regardless of how many members there are.
21 September, 2021: Council meeting to confirm final proposal
24 September, 2021: Public notice issued of final proposal
24 September, 2021 - 29 October, 2021: Appeal/objection period