Representation review pānui 2

In this pānui:
- Local Government Electoral Legislation Act update
- Consideration of Māori representation
- The Commission's plan for communication with Māori stakeholder entities
- Follow-up to the electoral system decision
- What we need from you
31 Aug 2023

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to our latest pānui. This update covers:

  • Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2023 update
  • Consideration of Māori representation
  • The Commission's plans for communication with Māori stakeholder entities
  • What we need from you

Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2022 Update

The Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2023 now has royal assent and is available online here: Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2023. The associated amendments are now being incorporated into the Local Electoral Act 2001. Once available, we will include a link to the updated LEA in a future pānui.

Consideration of Māori Representation

Amendments to the LEA relating to the establishment of Māori wards and constituencies were enacted in the Local Government Electoral Legislation Act 2023, but their implementation is delayed until after the 2025 local elections. For this representation review cycle, the deadline for resolving whether or not to establish Māori wards remains 23 November 2023. You can find more information about the statutory provisions for establishing Māori wards and constituencies in Chapter 4 of our Representation Review Guidelines 2023.

The Commission's role in determining representation arrangements does not extend to whether or not Māori wards/constituencies are to be established. However, we do have a unique overview of each representation review cycle around the motu. As a result, we identified some key lessons during the previous review cycle for councils considering whether to establish Māori representation.

Things to look out for:
  1. We recommend referencing the most recent statistics available for the Māori electoral population (MEP) and general electoral population (GEP) in any advice provided to your council. Currently, those are the 2022 estimates, calculated by Statistics New Zealand using the 2018 census as their base. These estimates (at the regional and district level) are available for download on our website's representation review page. You can also request them direct from Statistics New Zealand. We expected updated estimates for MEP and GEP to be available in early November 2023. As with all statistics, we recommend that you use the updated version for both of your representation proposals (initial and final).
  2. Your council's engagement with Māori stakeholder entities on Māori representation should now be well underway. If your council establishes Māori wards/constituencies, ongoing engagement with these entities should play an important part in informing how Māori wards/constituencies will be arranged.
  3. It may be useful to remind your council that members elected by Māori wards/constituencies represent the Māori electoral population rather than specific iwi interests, recognising that there is often crossover between the two.  All members, whether elected by general or Māori wards/constituencies, make decisions in the best interest of the district or region.
  4. The council's decision to establish Māori wards/constituencies cannot be reversed through the council's representation review as a result of submissions to the council, or appeals and objections to the Local Government Commission.
  5. Members for new Māori wards/constituencies may be either additional to the current number of councillor positions, or form part of the existing number of councillor positions. The council decides the total number of councillor positions at the next step in the process, as part of its initial representation proposal.
  6. Some useful engagement resources:
    • Te Arawhiti (Office for Māori Crown Relations) provides useful guidance on engaging with Māori
    • Te Puni Kōkiri's Te Kāhui Māngai website provides basic information about iwi, hapū and marae searchable by local authority, mainly from a resource management perspective.

If your council decides to establish Māori representation for the first time, there will be particular factors to consider when planning for the council's subsequent initial proposal. We'll include more detail about this in our next update.

Commission Communications with Māori Stakeholder Entities

Throughout this review cycle, the Commission will be offering information about representation reviews directly to Māori representative bodies with an interest in local governance. This is a new approach for the Commission and we welcome your input or suggestions for improvement. Our aim is to inform Māori stakeholder engagement with your council during your representation review. So that you can make the most of this in your engagement, we will share those communications with you. Communications will be on an opt-in basis and tailored for relevance.

We will invite Māori stakeholder entities to sign up for communications from the Commission over the next few weeks. We acknowledge that the authority to speak on behalf of whānui hapū iwi Māori on representation matters can differ between districts and regions. In many instances, councils will know best who their relevant stakeholder entities are. We are now seeking contact details from you for your council's Māori stakeholder entities. If your council has a Māori partnerships lead or equivalent, please feel free to share this request with them.

Please forward names and contact details for your council's Māori stakeholder entities to us at

Follow Up to the Electoral System Decision

The statutory deadline for councils to change their electoral system for the next election is 12 September. The choice of electoral system is not formally part of representation reviews, and the Commission's role in appeals and objections does not apply. The electoral system does have implications for some elements of representation however, and these are referenced in the Commission's Guidelines. Councils making a change to the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system may find the resources listed at paragraph 3.12 of the Guidelines helpful.

What We Need From You

If your council has made a decision about electoral systems and/or Māori wards/constituencies, please email us a copy of the officer reports and your council's decisions to us at

Contact Us

The information contained in these updates 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 merits taking into account the information available to the Commission.

We are sending this email primarily to local authority officers and others we believe are responsible for representation and related issues. If you are not the appropriate person in your organisation to receive this information, or if others in the organisation should also receive it, please let us know.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the Commission team by emailing


Ngā mihi,

The Local Government Commission Team