Extra regional councillor

Final approval has been given by the Local Government Commission for the Otago Regional Council to increase the number of its councillors in time for this year's local body elections.

The 11-member council had resolved to increase its Dunstan constituency's two councillors by one to ensure fair representation throughout the district based on the population model required by the Local Electoral Act.

Population rises in Dunstan, which covers Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes districts and is represented by Crs Duncan Butcher (based in Cromwell) and Gerry Eckhoff (based in Alexandra), meant it fell outside the ratio required by the Act.

Adding the extra councillor brought the area close to meeting the ratio.

The commission's recent decision determined Otago should continue to be divided into four constituencies and be represented by 12 councillors - three in Dunstan, one in Moeraki, two in Molyneux and six in Dunedin.