The Tararua DIstrict Council has chosen to elect its Councillors under a Ward system. It is a legislative requirement that the Mayor be elected by the electors of the District as a whole. The Council last reviewed its representation arrangements in 2021 ahead of the 2022 local elections.
This review determined that the Tararua District be divided into three wards and have nine elected councillors (excluding the Mayor) to represent those Wards. This included the addition of the Tamaki nui-a-rua Māori Ward.
Wards, number of members, and area covered
The names, area covered, and the number of councillors for each Ward are:
|Tamaki nui-a-rua Māori Ward||1||The Māori electoral population in all of Tararua District|
|North Tararua General Ward||4||Dannevirke and the surrounding rural areas, including Norsewood, Ormondville, Weber, Herbertville, Pongaroa and Ākitio|
|South Tararua General Ward||4||Woodville, Pahiatua, Eketāhuna and the surrounding rural areas, including Mangatainoka, Makuri, Tiraumea and Alfredton|
The Tararua District Council has two community boards, the Dannevirke Community Board and Eketāhuna Community Board, each with four elected members and two Council-appointed members. These Boards are constituted under Section 49 of the Local Government Act 2002 to:
- represent and act as an advocate for the interests of their community
- consider and report on any matter referred to it by the Council, or on any issues of interest or concern to the community board
- make an annual submission to Council on expenditure in the community
- maintain an overview of services provided by the Council within the community
- communicate with community organisations and special interest groups in the community
- undertake any other responsibilities delegated by the Council. Both of the district’s community boards have formally been delegated specific functions to undertake.
Each community board has a chairperson and five members. The Council appoints two of these members, and electors in the community elect the other positions triennially. The Board elects its own chairperson at its first meeting after the triennial election.
The Council last reviewed the community board structures in the district in June 2021. This shall next be subject to review at least once every six years from this date.
Community Committees exist in the Tararua District that operate under contract to the Council. These committees are incorporated societies, and elect their executive each year from their membership at their annual general meetings.
The Community Committee in Pahiatua is known as "Explore Pahiatua Incorporated". The Community Committee in Woodville is currently going through a re-establishment process, after going into recess in September 2022.
These committees are not formally part of the District’s governance structure, but the functions undertaken by Community Committees are similar to those of Community Boards.
Their responsibilities include to:
- Oversee Council’s services and facilities in their area.
- Arrange local community events where appropriate.
- Advocate on behalf of their community, and participate in any consultation processes of relevance or significance to them.
- Consider and report on all matters referred to them by the Council.
- Communicate and liaise with local organisations and special interest groups, and provide representation where appropriate.
- Distribute general assistance funding as appropriate for the benefit of their community.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 gives Council the ability to establish a separate ward from which electors on the Māori electoral roll may elect a representative(s).
Through the review of representation arrangements carried out by Council on 30 June 2021 it was resolved to establish a Tamaki nui-a-Rua Māori Ward for the District to be able to elect one member to the Council effective from the 2022 and 2025 local authority elections.
This shall next be subject to review at least once every six years from this date.
Review of Representation Arrangements
The Council is required to review its representation arrangements at least once every six years. This review must include the following:
- the number of elected members (within the legal requirement to have a minimum of six and a maximum of 30 members including the Mayor)
- whether the elected members (other than the Mayor) shall be elected by the entire district, or whether the district will be divided into wards for electoral purposes, or whether there will be a mix of ‘at large’ and ‘ward’ representation
- if election by wards is preferred, then the boundaries and names of those wards and the number of members that will represent each ward
- whether or not to have separate wards for electors on the Māori roll
- whether to have community boards and if so how many, their boundaries and membership and whether to subdivide a community for electoral purposes.
The Council must follow the procedure set out in the Local Electoral Act 2001 when conducting this review, and follow guidelines published by the Local Government Commission. The Act provides the rightfor members of the public to make a written submission to the Council, and the right to request to be heard if wished.
The right to appeal any decisions on the above is also available through the Local Government Commission that will make a binding decision on the appeal. Further details on the matters that the Council must consider in reviewing its membership and basis of election can be found in the Local Electoral Act 2001.
The Council last conducted a review in June 2021. It is not legally required to review representation again until August 2027.
The Reorganisation Process
The Local Government Act 2002 sets out procedures that must be followed during proposals for:
- the union of districts or regions
- the constitution of a new district or region, including the constitution of a new local authority for that district or region
- the abolition of a district or region, including the dissolution or abolition of the local authority for that district or region
- the alteration of the boundaries of any district or region
- the transfer of a statutory obligation from one local authority to another
- the assumption by a territorial authority of the powers of a regional council
In general they begin with a proposal made to the Local Government Commission by any person, body, or group, including (but not limited to) one or more of the affected local authorities or the Minister of Local Government. They must include information that demonstrates the application has community support in the district of each affected territorial authority for local government reorganisation, and this may be accompanied by a petition of affected electors.
The Commission must be satisfied that any such proposal will best promote good local government in the affected area through efficiencies and cost savings, productivity improvements and simplified planning processes.
It provides for consultation to seek alternative applications by the Commission prior to it determining any preferred option and the issuing of a draft reorganisation proposal to give effect to its preferred option.
If a final proposal is issued affected electors may demand a poll to determine whether the final proposal is to proceed and become a reorganisation scheme.
A petition of 10% or more of affected voters enrolled in the district of a territorial authority may demand such a poll.
Further information on these requirements can be found in the Local Government Act 2002. The Local Government Commission has also prepared guidelines on procedures for local government reorganisation.