What is the council deciding?

    The Council is deciding on the representation arrangements for Wellington City in the 2022 and 2025 local elections. The things that Council needs to decide are:

    • The total number of councillors
    • Whether any councillors should be elected at-large (by the whole city)
    • The number of wards (electoral subdivisions)
    • The boundaries, names, and number of councillors for each ward
    • What community boards there should be (if any)

    Why is a Representation Review needed?

    Every three years, elections are held for Councils. To ensure that we have fair and effective representation at these elections, councils are required by the Local Electoral Act 2001 to review their representation arrangements at least once every six years. 

    Wellington City Council conducted its last representation review in 2018 and would not be required to conduct a representation review ahead of the 2022 local elections. However, Council’s decision in May 2021 to establish a Māori ward triggered the need to conduct a representation review in 2021. 

    Why did establishing a Māori ward require a representation change?

    When a Māori ward is established, the total number of eligible voters is split into two groups – the general electoral population and the Māori electoral population. These numbers are then used to determine ward boundaries. 

    General ward councillors are elected by voters on the general electoral roll, and Māori ward councillor(s) by those on the Māori electoral roll.

    We need to work out how the Māori ward is going to fit into our ward system and a representation review gives us the opportunity to do that. 

    What was looked at to prepare an initial proposal?

    All the options looked at were tested against the requirements of the Local Electoral Act 2001. 

    We looked at:

    • where our communities of interest are
    • how these communities of interest are fairly and effectively represented by: 
      • the total number of councillors 
      • the way councillors are elected (by ward or by the whole city) 
      • the number of wards
      • the number of councillors elected per ward
      • ward names, and boundaries 
      • community board arrangements 
    • ensuring each councillor represents about the same number of people 
    • any arrangements for Māori wards. 

     

    What is the initial proposal option? 

     

    After considering all the options, Council is recommending that the current ward structure is kept in place with no changes and that the new Māori ward councillor is added. 

    This means the proposal is to have fifteen councillors in total: 14 general ward councillors elected from five wards, one Māori ward councillor elected from one ward over the whole city, and a mayor elected by the whole city. 

    This option has been chosen because it allows the new Māori ward councillor to be added with minimal changes to the current system. 

    When considering options in the representation review, we need to consider the requirements for fair representation and effective representation. Both of which are equally important. 

    Fair representation is about ensuring each ward councillor represents approximately the same number of people. Wards should have a population of within +/-10 per cent per councillor unless to do that would not allow for effective representation. If any wards are outside this allowance, then once Council has made its final decision it must be referred to the Local Government Commission for a determination. 

    This proposed option does have three wards that are not within the +/-10 per cent allowed to meet the criteria for fair representation. We did consider some boundary changes to the wards to get below 10 per cent but thought that these boundary changes would split communities of interest and not allow for effective representation. 

     

    What happens if the final proposal goes through with wards outside the 10 per cent allowed for fair representation? 

    If any wards are outside the 10 per cent allowance, then once Council has made its final decision it must be referred to the Local Government Commission for a determination. 

     

    Why are you tweaking the ward names? 

    We are proposing to tweak the names of the wards to remove a backslash. In 2018 we introduced dual te reo / English names for all of our wards. The ward names currently take this format – Motukairangi/Eastern Ward. This way of naming the wards had the unintended consequence of implying that the names of the wards are either/or, or that the te reo names are translations of the English ones. We are proposing to remove the slash to stop this ambiguity. The new ward names would look like this – Motukairangi Eastern Ward. 

     

    Are there any changes to Community board representation? 

    It is proposed that we keep our current community board structure: Tawa Community Board representing the communities of Grenada North, Takapu Valley and Tawa, and Makara/Ohariu Community Board representing the communities of Mākara, Mākara Beach, and Ōhāriu. 

    We propose to also update the name of the Makara/Ohariu Community Board to have the right macrons – Mākara/Ōhāriu Community Board.

    Why is only one preferred option put forward in the initial proposal for the public to choose from and not all four options looked at? 

     

     Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 Council can only consult the public on one proposal. 

    What is the initial proposal option?

    After considering all the options, Council is recommending that the current ward structure is kept in place with no changes and that the new Māori ward councillor is added. 

    This means the proposal is to have fifteen councillors in total: 14 general ward councillors elected from five wards, one Māori ward councillor elected from one ward over the whole city, and a mayor elected by the whole city. 

    This option has been chosen because it allows the new Māori ward councillor to be added with minimal changes to the current system. 

    When considering options in the representation review, we need to consider the requirements for fair representation and effective representation. Both of which are equally important. 

    Fair representation is about ensuring each ward councillor represents approximately the same number of people. Wards should have a population of within +/-10 per cent per councillor unless to do that would not allow for effective representation. If any wards are outside this allowance, then once Council has made its final decision it must be referred to the Local Government Commission for a determination. 

    This proposed option does have three wards that are not within the +/-10 per cent allowed to meet the criteria for fair representation. We did consider some boundary changes to the wards to get below 10 per cent but thought that these boundary changes would split communities of interest and not allow for effective representation. 

    What happens if the final proposal goes through with wards outside the 10 per cent allowed for fair representation?

    If any wards are outside the 10 per cent allowance, then once Council has made its final decision it must be referred to the Local Government Commission for a determination.

    Why are you tweaking ward names?

    We are proposing to tweak the names of the wards to remove a backslash. In 2018 we introduced dual te reo / English names for all of our wards. The ward names currently take this format – Motukairangi/Eastern Ward. This way of naming the wards had the unintended consequence of implying that the names of the wards are either/or, or that the te reo names are translations of the English ones. We are proposing to remove the slash to stop this ambiguity. The new ward names would look like this – Motukairangi Eastern Ward.

    Are there any changes to Community board representation?

    It is proposed that we keep our current community board structure: Tawa Community Board representing the communities of Grenada North, Takapu Valley and Tawa, and Makara/Ohariu Community Board representing the communities of Mākara, Mākara Beach, and Ōhāriu. 

    We propose to also update the name of the Makara/Ohariu Community Board to have the right macrons – Mākara/Ōhāriu Community Board.

    Why is only one preferred option put forward in the initial proposal for the public to choose from and not all four options looked at?

    Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 Council can only consult the public on one proposal.

    What does the proposed new name, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, for the new Māori ward mean?

    The proposed name for the new Māori ward is Te Whanganui-a-Tara Ward.

    The history of the area and its importance in Māori culture is shown by the names given to the area and its surrounds. The earliest known name for Wellington City, derived from Māori legend, is Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui or the head of Maui’s fish. 

    Te Whanganui-a-Tara is another name Māori gave the area – a name said to come from Whatonga’s son Tara who was sent down from the Mahia Peninsula by his father to explore southern lands for their people to settle. It literally means the great harbour of Tara. The settlement thrived and the harbour represented sustenance, access and connected the whole city. 

    Te Ātiawa settled the inner harbour area and had a close relationship with Ngāti Toa further north.

    What is meant by communities of interest?

    A ‘community of interest’ is a community people associate with. Many people consider their suburb to be a community of interest.

    What effective representation mean?

    Council must ensure effective representation of communities of interest.  Guideline notes the following factors should be considered when determining effective representation:

    • avoiding arrangements that may create barriers to participation, for example, not recognising residents’ familiarity and identity with an area during elections
    • not splitting recognised communities of interest between electoral subdivisions
    • not grouping together two or more communities of interest that have few common interests
    • accessibility, size, and configuration of an area, including:
      • the population’s reasonable access to its elected members and vice versa
      • the elected members’ ability to:
        • effectively represent the views of their electoral area

    provide reasonably even representation across the area including activities like attending public meetings and opportunities for face-to-face meetings.

    What does Fair representation mean?

    Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 (section 19V), all wards must have approximately the same population number per councillor unless a prescribed ground for non-compliance is met. 

    This rule is known as the 10 per cent rule, as all wards must have a population number per councillor within 10 per cent (plus or minus) of the average. 

    The Act sets out four grounds for non-compliance with the 10 per cent rule:

    • to provide for effective representation of communities of interest within:
    • island communities 
    • isolated communities
      • where compliance would limit effective representation of communities of interest by:
    • dividing a community of interest
    • grouping together communities of interest with few commonalities of interest

    Did Council consider changing the ‘Single Transferable Vote’ voting system as part of this review?

    No, the voting system is not part of this review. Council decided on 26 August 2020 to retain the current voting system for the 2022 elections.

    If we had more councillors, would ratepayers need to pay more?

    No. Councillor remuneration comes from a pool set by the Remuneration Authority that does not change based on the number of Councillors, i.e., the total amount of remuneration paid to councillors will not change if there are greater or fewer councillors. 

    If Council resolved to increase the number of Councillors, then the pool would have to be split between a greater number of members, which would mean lower remuneration for councillors on average. 

    What representation does WCC currently have?

    Currently, Wellington City is represented by 14 councillors and a mayor. 

    The councillors are elected through a system of five wards: Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward, Motukairangi/Eastern Ward, Paekawakawa/Southern Ward, Wharangi/Onslow-Western Ward, and Takapū/Northern Ward. The Mayor is elected by the entire city. 

    Wellington also has two community boards, the Tawa Community Board and Makara/Ohariu Community Board.

    What is a Councillor at-large?

    At-large councillors were looked at as part of the other options considered. In this situation, everybody, whether they are in a general ward or a Māori ward, would get to vote for these councillors in addition to voting for their ward councillors.

    Can I wait and see what the final proposal is before I make my views known?

    If you have a view on the initial proposal, then the Representation Review is your opportunity to share your view. Your view will be taken in to account when Council decides the final proposal. If you still do not agree with Council’s final proposal, you can lodge an appeal with the Local Government Commission.

    What are the key dates for the Representation Review?

    • 4 September – 4 October 2021 – Formal submissions on initial proposal

    • 12 October 2021 – Oral Submissions

    Council will hear from the public who want to speak to their formal submissions

    • 28 October 2021 – Final Proposal determined 

    After analysing feedback from submissions, Council will decide a final representation proposal

    • 8 November – 8 December 2021 – Appeals / Objections 

    Opportunity to make a formal appeals or objections on the final proposal

    • April 2022 – Local Government Commission

    If formal appeals/objections are received, the Local Government Commission will decide how the city is represented for 2022 local elections.

    What is required at an oral submission?

    Once the consultation period has finished, oral submissions will be scheduled for any submitters who wish to speak to Council. 

    Following oral submissions, Council will have the opportunity to make a final proposal for representation arrangements. At this stage Council can take in to account any feedback provided by members of the public and may make changes from the initial proposal. 

    How do I appeal or make an objection to the final proposal?

    Following the final proposal, members of the public have the right to appeal or object the proposal to the Local Government Commission (the Commission). 

    An appeal can be made by anybody who has submitted on the initial proposal about matters relating to their original submission. 

    Additionally, if a ward does not comply with the 10 per cent rule, then the Council must refer its final proposal to the Commission. 

    You can appeal or object by getting in contact by:

    • Emailing RepReview2021@wcc.govt.nz
    • Post to Deputy Electoral Officer, PO Box 2199, Wellington 6140
    • Calling us on 04 499 4444 and asking for Sean Johnson

    If there is an appeal, objection, or referral, then the Commission must consider it determine the representation arrangements for Council. 

    Determinations by the Commission may be appealed to the High Court on a point of law, or judicially reviewed. 

     

    What population figures were used to prepare the options?

    The statistics were from Statistics NZ and are the latest population estimates that are required to be used for the representation review.

    Why are you doing this consultation while we are in lock-down?

    The dates for representation reviews are set by legislation and so we need to start public submissions now while we are still in lockdown.