Change coming for Waitaki boundaries

Mayor Gary Kircher
Mayor Gary Kircher
Two Waitaki District Council ward boundaries are to be redrawn before this year's local body elections, the council has confirmed.

The Ahuriri and Corriedale wards will be changed to replicate Otago Regional Council and Canterbury Regional Council boundaries.

That will result in Duntroon, inland from Oamaru, becoming part of the Ahuriri ward.

Cr Craig Dawson represents the Ahuriri ward and Cr Bill Kingan and Cr Guy Percival the Corriedale ward.

The change came about after the council carried out a representation review in 2018, after it raised concerns that the Ahuriri ward did not comply with population versus representation percentage requirements under the Local Electoral Act.

Under the Act, the population of each ward divided by the number of elected members must be no more than 10% greater or smaller than the district's population.

Based on 2013 census figures, the expanded Ahuriri ward's population of 1732 will remain the lowest among the four geographical areas in the Waitaki district, which has a population of 20,829 according to the census figures.

The council was also concerned the wards might be combined by the Local Government Commission, as they were for the 2004 local body election before that ruling was overturned ahead of the 2007 elections.

It argued the Ahuriri ward had a "distinctive character and a number of isolated communities'' which meant it needed a separate councillor and community board to be represented effectively.

As a result, the council proposed the ward's boundary be reconfigured so the percentage of non-compliance could be reduced and its current representation retained.

On April 10, the commission upheld the council's proposal.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the outcome was "very good news'' for the district.

"The change to the boundary between Corriedale and Ahuriri wards helps to cement their separate identities, by bringing Ahuriri closer to the average population per councillor target.

"The down side is that the Ahuriri ward is now approximately 60% of the entire Waitaki district land area, but the one councillor there will have the benefit of an effective community board to help share the representation workload.''

A full report on the determination will be presented at a meeting of the full council next Tuesday.

daniel.birchfield@odt.co.nz

 

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