Representation review pānui 8 - Councils and Māori organisations

In this pānui: Government announcement on changes to the Local Electoral Act
05 Apr 2024

Kia ora koutou

The Coalition Government has announced pending changes to the Local Electoral Act 2001. 

The Government’s announcement states that these changes will:

  • restore legislative provisions allowing for binding polls on the establishment of Māori wards/constituencies, and
  • provide an opportunity for councils who do not wish to hold a poll to reverse their decision to establish Māori wards or to disestablish those wards prior to the 2025 local elections.

These changes will apply to councils that have existing Māori wards/constituencies, and those that have resolved to establish them for the 2025 local elections.  This will affect the representation review process for some councils who are currently undertaking a review.  It will also require actions or decisions by councils with existing Māori wards/constituencies who are not currently undertaking a review. 

We understand that five councils have been advised by the Minister of Local Government that they are unaffected by the transitional arrangements: 

  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council
  • Ōpōtiki District Council
  • Tauranga City Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Wairoa District Council

As soon as we have more detailed information on the proposed changes, we will provide guidance to support councils in any required actions or decisions related to their representation.  We anticipate providing some initial information to councils and Māori entities via a representation Review pānui next week.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has advised that it will be holding an information webinar for council officers to explain transitional provisions in the policy and answer technical questions on Monday 8 April.  We encourage council officers to look out for the DIA's invitation to this and attend the session.

Ngā mihi

The Local Government Commission Team

The information contained in this update is intended to support well-informed council decisions and good practice throughout the representation review process.  Specific representation arrangements are decisions for each council.  The information is provided by Commission officials and does not reflect a particular view or preference of the Commission for any specific representation arrangement.  Where representation is determined by the Commission, each determination is considered on its own merit taking into account the information available to the Commission.