17 days ago

Council representation

Barry from Papamoa Beach

The council has announced its representation proposal for the next 6 years. It wants Tauranga to be split into 8 wards and for each ward to be represented by 1 councillor. Each ward will have a population of about 17,000 - a medium size town. There will also be a Maori ward with 1 councillor. Residents will ONLY be allowed to vote for their ward councillor, no other councillor. So, people only have a one-ninth say in who represents the city. Furthermore, residents can only speak to their ward councillor about council and local matters; they can't speak to any other councillor.Too bad if your ward councillor turns out to be a dud; you can't go to anyone else for help. How will one councillor manage to look after 17,000 people and do all his other council work as well? Complaints and suggestions could be diverted to the mayor but he or she couldn't possibly cope with the demand.The council plan could turn out to be another disaster.
The council IGNORED the popular choice which was 9 general councillors elected from 1 ward constituting the WHOLE OF TAURANGA. Every resident on the general roll would have a vote for all 9 councillors, not just 1 ward councillor as the council has proposed. Residents would be free to speak to any one of the 9 councillors about matters that concerned them. There would be 1 Maori ward councillor to make up the rest of the team.
The council also decided that Tauranga did not need community boards. Astonishingly, the council considered that having 1 councillor to talk to would provide enough opportunity for the public to participate in the governance of the city. IS THE COUNCIL TRYING TO SHUT UP AND SHUT OUT THE PUBLIC VOICE?.
The council's scheme is out for public comment until the 4th of October. Go to the council's website to read the feedback form and have your say. Call for at least 9, and maybe more, at-large general ward councillors to be chosen by every resident on the general roll. Also call for 3 community boards to be established so that the public voice can be heard. Community boards are legally constituted bodies to which EVERY RESIDENT living in Tauranga will belong without having to enrol or pay a subscription, and councils are required by law to pay attention to what they have to say. Boards will cost no more than $4 a year per head of population, and probably much less,That will be money well spent if if giving locals their say before the council starts throwing money around prevents expensive stuff-ups.
If you have any questions about the review process and the system I have suggested or would like to read, and perhaps support, my submission, contact me through Neighbourly.

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