Shannon and its surrounding districts are backing their man and his seat at Horowhenua District Council.
Horowhenua District Council is looking to cull numbers as part of a required review into its governance structure, recommending the Miranui Ward of Shannon merge with the Kere Kere Ward of Foxton and Foxton Beach.
But current Miranui Ward councillor Robert Ketu said people in his electorate of Shannon and her sister townships of Ōpiki and Tokomaru want their direct representation to continue.
Ketu felt the Foxton community was already well-represented at local Government level by having the Foxton Community Board and two councillors.
"They are over-represented already," he said.
"How can that be fair? How can the voice of the Miranui Ward be heard? When you look at the growth that is about to happen...you can't buy a home in Shannon at the moment."
Ketu said the review comes just months after a failed bid from a group of Tokomaru and Ōpiki residents for a boundary adjustment to leave Horowhenua and join Palmerston North City Council.
"And that was because they felt they weren't being heard of cared for. Who would represent them now? That is the question," he said.
Opposition to the proposal had seen a Miranui Action Group (MAG) formed, with a pop-up centre in Shannon last week encouraging people to make written submissions to the proposal.
MAG supporter Lani Ketu said they had also set up a Facebook page to assess public opinion and the feedback was overwhelming.
Ketu said she failed to see the logic in sharing a seat with Foxton. They were two separate sets of small townships and communities with vastly different needs.
"They are different towns, different communities, different needs. It's not going to work," she said.
"We need someone to represent us, our town, our people and our issues. How would someone from Foxton represent us?"
The Miranui Ward had a designated seat at council since the disbanding of the Shannon Borough Council during a reform of Local Government in 1989.
Horowhenua District was currently divided into four wards represented by 10 councillors - Kere Kere (2 councillors) Miranui (1), Levin (5), and Waiopehu (2), in addition to the Mayor who was elected at large.
Its preferred new plan was to cut two of the 10 current seats, add a Māori ward representative, and merge the Miranui and Kere Kere wards, leaving 10 sitting around the table - a mayor and nine councillors.
That would see a new Kere Kere-Miranui Ward (population 8170) with two seats, Levin (15,461) with four seats, Waiopehu (7389) with two seats and a new Māori Ward (5060) with one seat.
The proposal also mooted moving southern parts of the Kere Kere Ward into the Waiopehu Ward, and shifting eastern parts of the Waiopehu Ward to the Levin Ward.
Horowhenua's population, according to Statistics NZ, was 36,080 as at August 2021. The average number of councillors among Local Authorities in NZ with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 was 10.
The Local Electoral Act required all local authorities to review their representation at least every six years. The last time HDC held a review was 2018, and prior to that 2012.
Council's decision in May this year to introduce a Māori seat for the 2022 election triggered a requirement to undertake a representation review this year.
HDC held hui in Shannon, Levin, Foxton and Tokomaru last week as part of its community consultation. Submissions closed on Wednesday, October 6, which was an extension on an original September 8 deadline.
A decision on a preferred proposal at an HDC meeting next week. The final proposal would then be publicly notified.
The next local body elections are in October, 2022.