After review, CODC to lose one councillor as of next election

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
There has been as little change as there was interest from Central Otago residents about the composition of their council and community boards.

At the Central Otago District Council’s meeting yesterday, it was agreed to reduce the number of councillors around the table by one from next year’s local body elections.

The decision came from the representation review the council is required to do every six years to check how well communities are represented.

Cr Neil Gillespie said he was disappointed by the lack of submissions made.

Perhaps it gave some confidence nothing was broken. Time would tell, he said.

In February the council asked for community feedback, which generated 79 submissions, or 0.34% of the district’s 26,050 residents. After the council considered that information it went back to the community and attracted two submissions.

The workload for community board members and diversity of the various communities in the district being represented concerned submitters.

A reduction in the number of councillors was suggested to balance the number of people represented by each elected member. The population growth in Cromwell meant either that ward needed another elected member or Vincent needed to drop one to achieve equal representation. The councillors’ decision was that both would have four elected members, meaning Vincent would lose one.

The Maniototo and Teviot wards have one member each despite their comparatively low populations.

The Local Electoral Act says each councillor must represent between 2345 and 2865 people unless particular community considerations justify otherwise.

With four elected members, based on 2018 census figures, Cromwell would be represented at 1:2650 and Vincent at 1:2888.

The mayor is elected across all wards and represents the whole district. Community boards would each elect four members and have one council member appointed.

Changes agreed to yesterday will be notified in the next few days for a month. Any appeals or objections will be forwarded to the Local Government Commission.