Five appeals have been lodged against the Rotorua Lakes Council's recent Representation Review decisions.

In November, councillors voted 8-5 to make a series of changes to its representation arrangements that saw councillor numbers reduced from 12 to 10 and the establishment of a second community board to represent the rural sector.

The council also agreed to retain the current "at large" voting system where voters can cast votes for all councillor positions, rather than return to a ward system where people vote for ward councillors only.

The existing Lakes Community Board was also retained with the addition of Hamurana to the board's catchment area.


Rotorua residents had a month to appeal the decision to the Local Government Commission, which will meet in March to discuss the appeals and hear from submitters. A final decision is due in April.

Appealing the decision, for a number of different reasons, were the Rotorua Lakes Community Board, Federated Farmers, the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group, and Rotorua district residents Allan Estcourt and Stewart Graham.

Mr Estcourt said he believed the council should have returned to a ward system and kept the number of councillors at 12.

"I was on the Rotorua County Council in the '70s as a representative for the Rotoiti Ward.

"I believe it's superior to what they have now. I suggested there should be three wards - one for the lakes, one for the rural sector and one for the major urban area," he said.

Rotorua Lakes Community Board chairman Geoff Palmer said with Hamurana added to its catchment the board's members wanted a person to be elected to the board from the Hamurana area.

"We've been well treated by the review."

He said the board had an elected representative from lakes Tarawera, Okareka, Rotoiti and Rotoma/Rotoehu and felt the people of Hamurana should have the same privilege.


"We are asking for an additional elected member from Hamurana. That's what we have appealed. We feel this is reasonable, and it's important they have representation," he said.

Once the appeal process has concluded the changes will come into effect for the next local government election in October 2016 and for the following election in 2019.

Rotorua/Taupo Federated Farmers committee member Neil Heather had previously told the Rotorua Daily Post the organisation wanted a rural ward to represent it, not a community board.

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group secretary Reynold Macpherson said the group appealed against "pre-emptive decision-making" by the council's Representation Review working party as well as the decision not to introduce a rural ward and the drop in councillor numbers that he said "lacked any rationale".