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About Representation Reviews

In New Zealand, local authority members are elected every three years. Local authorities are required to review their representation arrangements at least once every six years. Where a council is carrying out a review it must, before the end of August in the year preceding the elections:

  • Review its membership and basis of election.
  • Notify the public of their resolution or set of proposals.
  • Calls for submissions to a Council’s Proposals

Any person or organisation may lodge a written submission to a council’s proposals. The council considers all submissions and may decide to amend its proposals.

Objections to a Council’s Amended Proposals

If an original submitter is still not satisfied with the council’s decision, they may then lodge a written appeal. Any person or organisation may lodge a written objection to a proposal that has been amended.

Determinations

When councils' amended proposals are subject to appeals and objections the Local Government Commission will determine the council’s membership and basis of election.

Legislation

Following are the relevant provisions of the Local Electoral Act 2001:

  • Sections 19H, 19I and 19J require each council to review its membership and basis of election.
  • Section 19M(1) requires public notification of each council’s proposals.
  • Section 19M(2)(d) states any person or organisation may lodge a written submission regarding a council’s proposals.
  • Section 19O allows anyone who lodged a submission and is not satisfied with the council’s decision to then lodge a written appeal against the decision.
  • Section 19D allows any person or organisation to lodge a written objection to any amended proposal.
  • Section 19R requires the Commission to complete determinations before 11 April in the year of the triennial elections.
  • Sections 19T, 19U, 19V and 19W list the factors to be considered by local authorities and the Commission.

Population / Member Ratios

One of the factors that local authorities and the Commission must consider when dealing with representation reviews is the ratio between the population of an area and the number of members elected to represent it.

The membership of wards, constituencies and subdivisions are required to provide approximate population equality per member, within a range of +/- 10 per cent.

The population / member ratios for existing electoral areas are set out in the Excel file under the Resource Links at the side of the page. The populations used are estimates as at 30 June 2015 provided by Statistics New Zealand.

Maori wards and constituencies

Decisions about whether a district or region should have Maori wards or constituencies occurs in a separate process prior to a representation review. If it is decided that a district or region is to have Maori wards or constituencies, the detailed arrangements - the number of wards or constituencies, their names and boundaries, and the number of members - are dealt with in the representation review process.

A table showing the number of members that would be elected from Maori wards or constituencies if those were adopted in any district or region is under the Resource Links at the side of the page.

The table assumes that the current total membership of the council would remain unchanged. The populations used are estimates as at 30 June 2013 provided by Statistics New Zealand.