Two Hawke's Bay councillors have come out swinging at a plan to add an extra seat at the table, with one saying that to even vote on it is a conflict of interest.
Residents have only a few days left to have their say on a major shake-up to Hastings District Council, triggered by a vote to introduce Māori wards at the 2022 local body elections.
People can have their say on the proposal up until Friday as part of what is known as a representation review.
The proposal was chosen in August about how best to introduce the wards, which require a reshuffle for the existing council.
Under the proposal sent out for consultation, there would be 16 councillors for Hastings (including the mayor) which is up from 15 councillors presently (including the mayor).
Three Māori wards will be introduced with one councillor elected in each of those wards.
A reshuffle of the five general wards includes reducing the Flaxmere ward from two councillors to one.
At least four councillors have come out against the proposal in recent days, with some saying it will make the council larger than it needs to be.
Both Flaxmere councillors have claimed it will leave Flaxmere under-represented.
Councillor Wendy Schollum said any changes should not result in an increase in the overall number of councillors on the "already large council".
"Should the proposal be adopted, Hastings (with a population of just 88,000) will have more councillors than Wellington Council (population 416,828) and will become one of the eight most top-heavy councils in the country," she says in today's Hawke's Bay Today.
Councillor Damon Harvey said a decision on the new model should not be made by councillors, as he claimed it was a conflict of interest.
"You have the current mayor and councillors making a decision that impacts their chances of a seat at the table in 2022," he said.
"I think the decision should not be made by the current elected members and instead the decision should be made by independent commissioners or the community via a referendum."
He said it could also be done by the Local Government Commission.
Councillors Henare O'Keefe and Peleti Oli have also voiced their concern about the plans, particularly the reduction of a Flaxmere councillor.
"It will make it harder if there's just one representative trying to convince others at the council table to support Flaxmere initiatives," they said in a joint release.
A Hastings District Council spokeswoman encouraged people to make a submission before October 1 and said there had been 58 submissions made so far.
"After the close-off date, council will consider the submissions received, potentially make changes to the initial proposal, and then publicly notify a final proposal on October 19."
Go online to myvoicemychoice.co.nz or by clicking here to have your say.