Consultation is now open on Rotorua Lakes Council's representation review, which will inform its governance structure for the 2022 and 2025 local elections.
The council's proposed structure, approved by the council on August 31, would have one mayor elected at large, one Māori ward with two seats, one general ward with four seats and four at-large seats.
It also proposes to retain the Rotorua Lakes Community Board and Rotorua Rural Community Board.
Six-yearly representation reviews are a local government legislative requirement. It will not cover the inclusion or exclusion of Māori wards, as the council approved the introduction of a Māori ward in May.
A statement released today
said a number of different representation arrangements had been investigated based on community, iwi and elected member feedback, and been tested against the requirements under the Local Electoral Act.
"The model out for consultation is the one considered to most fairly and effectively represent Rotorua communities," the statement said.
The council needed community feedback on the proposed structure to check that was right, council district leadership and democracy deputy chief executive Oonagh Hopkins said.
"This is an important opportunity for the community to consider if the proposal on the table is going to fairly and effectively represent their interests when it comes to decision-making for the district."
She said there would be a series of Zoom webinars throughout the month that the public could participate in.
"I strongly encourage people to register and participate in these to learn more about our thinking around this model.
"The webinars will also give participants the opportunity to share if they support the proposal, or think a different structure would be a better fit."
Participant numbers would be limited but some of the webinars would also be recorded and available to watch on council's consultation platform Kōrero Mai/Let's Talk.
Hopkins said the outcome of the review would have a big impact on the way Rotorua voted in next year's local election.
"Local government is a democratic system so it's important that the views of our various communities are captured and considered as part of this consultation process."
The proposed structure was chosen over a Te Arawa-favoured structure, which was the source of robust debate at a committee meeting on August 26.
Consultation will run until October 8.
The council said submissions would be considered in the final decision-making.
However, there would be a limited number of participants in each webinar.
Some of the webinars would also be recorded and available to watch on council's consultation platform Kōrero Mai/Let's Talk.
Face-to-face information sessions may be possible towards the end of the consultation period, depending on Covid-19 alert level restrictions.
Public hearings will be held on October 19 for those who would like to speak to their submission.
"[The] council will then take all feedback into consideration and make a final decision on its representation arrangements for the 2022 election, adopting a final proposal in November 2021," the council said.
Members of the public can object or appeal that decision before the final proposal is sent to the Local Government Commission.
strong>• For more information or to submit on the 2022 Rotorua Lakes Council representation review, go to
Representation review Zoom webinars:
• Tuesday September 14: 9.30am–11am
• Monday September 20: 4.30pm–6pm
• Friday September 24: 1pm–2.30pm
• Thursday September 30: 4.30pm–6pm
• Monday October 4: 1pm–2.30pm
• Wednesday October 6: 9.30am–11am
To register for a webinar email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the webinar you'd like to participate in.
Source: Rotorua Lakes Council