Proposed South Canterbury representation doubled through deliberations

almost 2 years ago

At a public meeting yesterday the Environment Canterbury Council advised the Chief Executive that they would like to amend their initial proposal for representation as a result of submissions received.

Chairman Steve Lowndes confirmed the changes through a show of hands from his Council: “We received 64 submissions on our initial proposal, with 27 of those in support of what we had put forward. We did however also hear 20 strong submissions requesting that we consider an additional representative for South Canterbury-Ōtuhituhi.

“The discussion was robust around the Council table, as it was during the development of the initial proposal, but in the end the decision was unanimous to increase the number of representatives in the south from one to two, taking the total number to 14.

“We are thankful to all those who submitted for the time taken to make their submission and, for those who attended the hearings, for travelling to our offices in Christchurch.”

In addition to the increased southern representation, the initial proposal will also be amended by changing the name of the Christchurch North constituency to Christchurch North East.

Council meeting to take place on 23 August

A final proposal will now be prepared for adoption at the Council meeting on 23 August. Following that meeting, the proposal will be sent to the Local Government Commission for determination in preparation for the 2019 elections.

Under the Local Electoral Act 2001, every local authority is required to undertake a representation review at least once every six years. In the case of Environment Canterbury, the Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Act 2016 requires the council to review its representation arrangements before the next local authority election in 2019.

Under the current arrangements, Environment Canterbury has a Council made up of 13 members: seven were elected in the 2016 elections, and six were appointed at that time by the Government.

To undertake the review of community representation on the Council, ie how many councillors can be elected and from which geographical areas, Council considered communities of interest, population distribution and the other local authorities’ boundaries, as well as the issues facing the region and the work the council undertakes. The Local Electoral Act 2001 provides the guidance for the review.

A local bill is being pursued with Ngāi Tahu for mana whenua representation to continue on the Environment Canterbury Council.

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