Relief at retention of community board

Mosgiel's link with its rural neighbours on the Taieri has been been recognised as the area's community board was saved from amalgamation.

A decision on the future of the city's ward system by the Local Government Commission has also made a difference for the Mosgiel Taieri area, with the end of the ward system that meant voters were only able to vote for candidates in their ward.

They can now vote for any candidates in the wider Dunedin area.

Mosgiel Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather said he was relieved his board had been saved from a Dunedin City Council proposal it be amalgamated with the Strath Taieri board.

Mr Feather said the board brought representation in the Mosgiel Taieri area ‘‘closer to the people''.

‘‘Particularly for areas that have community board areas, they have an avenue to go to to seek clarification and help over matters of local civic interest.''

It also gave residents an avenue to a group of elected people ‘‘that can lobby strongly on their behalf'''.

‘‘Those people bring local knowledge and commitment to the issues.''

On the abolition of the ward system, Mr Feather said the board had received ‘‘very long, very strong'' messages from the community, saying Taieri residents wanted a say in the election of all 14 councillors.

They did not want to be restricted to just the candidates for the Mosgiel-Taieri ward.

‘‘I think that was their wish.''He was also ‘‘particularly buoyed'' by the commission picking up on the fact Mosgiel residents had a strong community interest in the Taieri Plain.

The commission's decision said: ‘‘While Mosgiel obviously has linkages with the central urban area (through residents commuting to work), it also has a strong community of interest with the Taieri Plains and its exclusion from a community board including part of the Taieri Plains appears to split a community of interest.''

The decision also noted the importance of community boards in terms of representation in Dunedin.

‘‘The overall impression gained by the commission at the hearing is that community boards play a constructive role in the governance of Dunedin city and are actively engaged with their communities.''

Mr Feather was also pleased the commission retained its six board members, after the council had recommended numbers be cut to five.

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