Meeting votes for status quo

The Invercargill City Council appears set to retain the status quo following a review of councillor numbers.

During the council’s performance, policy and partnerships committee meeting yesterday, elected members deliberated on the findings of the 35 submissions received as part of its representation review.

The committee approved a ‘‘status quo’’ recommendation, of 12 councillors being elected at large and retaining the Bluff community board with five elected members and one appointed councillor.

The decision still needs to be confirmed at a full council meeting later this month.

Legal counsel Michael Morris presented a report about the matter and said the review considered a range of points.

These included numbers of councillors, the appropriate system of election and the retention or creation of community boards.

Mr Morris said 82.35% of the respondents agreed with election of councillors at large, but only 52% supported the current number of councillors.

‘‘Some thought the number of councillors should increase.

‘‘This included in order to increase diversity and to spread the business of council more widely.

‘‘Those who thought there should be fewer councillors mentioned efficiencies which would be gained, that the remaining councillors would receive more remuneration and that the Three Waters reform would mean there would be less for council to do,’’ he said.

During the hearings, Invercargill resident Tim Mulligan said he was ‘‘astounded’’ the council had invited consultation from the public on various matters but had not sought opinions about the two mana whenua representatives.

He said Maori people had the same opportunity to stand for council as any other candidate.

Cr Rebecca Amundsen said there had been some engagement with the community around the mana whenua seats.

The important consideration was that council was honouring its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The committee’s recommendation of the status quo was approved by all members, with exception of deputy mayor Nobby Clark.


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