An initial proposal to add two extra seats to the Council table is now open for feedback.
Hamilton City Council has reviewed how Hamiltonians are represented by Council and are proposing to retain the current ward system and add two extra Maaori ward candidates.
The initial proposal is:
- six councillors from the East Ward and six councillors from the West Ward elected by those who live on each side of the Waikato River
- the mayor elected by all voters
- two new Maaori ward councillors will be elected by those on the Maaori electoral roll.
Mayor Paula Southgate said several options had been considered. These options, as well as a feedback form can be found at yourcityelections.co.nz
“We want to ensure any proposal keeps councillors connected to their communities, now and in the future. It’s important Council continues to be accessible, diverse and provides choice for all voters,” Southgate said.
Councillors were also mindful of the considerable changes the community was already facing ahead of the 2022 full Council election.
“We have some big changes already in place including a new way of voting – from First Past the Post to Single Transferable Voting – and the introduction of Maaori ward seats. So, we are cautious about making too many other major changes right now that may make it harder to people to engage with Council.”
In May, Hamilton City Council voted to introduce Maaori wards in time for the 2022 Council elections. This will be the first time Council will have dedicated elected representation for Maaori among their city councillors.
The decision to introduce Maaori wards triggered the need for Council to review its representation structure – including the overall number of councillors, the ward system and whether there is a need for community boards.
Feedback on the initial proposal is open until 6 October. Council will then hear verbal submissions on 13 and 14 October, with a final decision due on 11 November. That decision is then open to an appeal period.
Maaori wards, single transferable voting, and the new representation structure will be implemented for the 2022 election.