Representation review pānui 5
- Responses to enquiries regarding Māori wards/constituencies
Kia ora koutou,
Welcome to our latest pānui. This update covers:
- Responses to recent enquiries we have received regarding Māori wards/constituencies
References to local referendum in coalition agreements
The coalition agreements made public this week include reference to restoring "the right to local referendum on the establishment or ongoing use of Māori wards, including requiring a referendum on any wards established without referendum at the next Local Body elections."
Several councils have since contacted us with queries regarding Māori wards/constituencies and the upcoming representation reviews. These are addressed below, based on the Local Electoral Act 2001 as it currently stands. We acknowledge the possibility of future legislative change.
Council resolutions regarding the establishment of Māori wards continue in effect for the 2025 local election
Section 19Z of the Local Electoral Act 2001 (the LEA) addresses council decision-making in relation to the establishment of Māori wards/constituencies. Section 19Z(3)(a) of the LEA sets a deadline of 23 November 2023 for council resolutions to establish Māori wards/constituencies.
In our view, any further council resolutions made under section 19Z would not take effect for the 2025 local election. This is because:
- Section 19Z(3)(b) makes it clear that any resolution made after 23 November 2023 will not take effect until the 2028 local election; and
- Section 19Z(3)(c) states that any decision to establish Māori wards takes effect for 2 triennial elections and continues in effect until a further resolution under this section takes effect.
The combined effect of these provisions means that council resolutions regarding the establishment of Māori wards continue in effect for the 2025 local election.
Councils that have established Māori wards/constituencies for the first time must complete a representation review
Clauses 1(1) and 3(1) of Schedule 1A of the LEA require councils that have established Māori wards/constituencies for the first time to undertake a representation review. These clauses do not take into consideration the timing of the council's previous representation review. This means that all councils that have established Māori wards/constituencies for the first time must complete a representation review next year, whether it is 'in cycle' or 'out of cycle'.
Representation options should include Māori wards/constituencies where these have been established
Sections 19H, 19I and 19J, along with clauses 1(2) and 2(2) of Schedule 1A of the LEA set out the matters that councils must determine as part of an initial representation proposal. There are a number of factors to consider - we touched on these in pānui 3.
Councils may choose to consider various representation options ahead of resolving one initial proposal. In our view, where councils have established Māori wards/constituencies, all representation options considered should include these (using the relevant calculation of Māori members in accordance with clauses 2 and 4 of Schedule 1A).
If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the Commission team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Local Government Commission Team
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.