We want to ensure all Hamiltonians are represented fairly and effectively by their Council. We believe that our initial proposal does this.
We have looked at our communities' needs and preferences, and we want to make sure that our proposal keeps councillors connected to their communities, now and in the future. We want our Council to be accessible, diverse, and provide choice for all voters.
We have a few big changes already planned, like our new way of voting (from First Past the Post (FPP) to Single Transferable Vote (STV)) and the introduction of Maaori ward seats, so we are cautious about making many other major changes right now.
There are so many different options for how we represent our community, each with pros and cons. We’ve looked at each of these, and we propose:
Increasing to 14 councillors will improve representation by providing better access to councillors for Hamiltonians.
Our city is growing quickly. Adding two more councillors now will help us keep up, and ensure we have enough councillors to do the work needed as the population grows.
A citywide Maori ward will provide more choice for people registered on the Maaori electoral roll. This means all voters on the Maaori electorate roll can vote for two Maaori ward candidates.
Our Maaori partners have told us they prefer a city-wide Maaori ward, as it would be more unifying and give Maaori greater choice.
The East and West General wards are working well for the community so we should keep it.
A key reason for Councils to have multiple wards is if there is evidence of unique communities living in different parts of the city that have distinct characteristics, interests or needs.
Research completed in 2018 showed that many Hamiltonians feel a sense of community to either the East or West side of the Waikato River.
Keeping the wards smaller also means candidates' election campaign spend limit is lower. This can be perceived as reducing the financial barrier, and makes standing for Council more accessible for a diverse range of people.
Introducing Community Boards is unlikely to significantly improve the existing representation system for the community.
Community Boards represent areas where communities share distinct characteristics and who may be underrepresented in local governance (for example geographically isolated communities).
The research we did in 2018 showed us that our communities are mixed and diverse right across the city. That means Community Boards are not likely to significantly improve the representation already provided by the existing ward system. So, we’re not looking to introduce Community Boards at this time.