FAQ

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What does ‘effective’ representation mean?

Effective representation means the community has good access to councillors, can effectively participate in local government and that differences between distinct community interests and needs are appropriately recognised and represented.

It also means the arrangements support councillors to do their job well – so they are available to their community, able to attend public meetings and generally carry out their duties.

Why is Council’s preference not to introduce Community Boards?

Legally, Council needs to consider whether Community Boards would improve representation for the community. Community Boards can be effective where there are distinct communities in defined locations that are underrepresented, or have particular interests that would benefit from improved representation (these are called 'communities of interest').

We did a lot of research in 2018 to identify whether such communities exist in Hamilton. While we found areas that shared some common characteristics in different parts of the city, we didn't find enough evidence of distinct communities or unmet representation need to support the establishment of community boards.

Recognising the lack of distinct communities of interest in Hamilton, and in keeping with our intent to keep things simple, Council decided not to propose introducing Community Boards.

What does ‘fair’ representation mean?

Fair representation means everyone has the same degree of representation. Under the Local Electoral Act this is guided by a formula to ensure each councillor represents approximately the same number of people and that this ratio is similar between wards (within +/- 10% difference of the average population per councillor).

Under this proposal, the 12 general ward councillors will represent approximately 12,400 people each across the two East and West General wards (total general electoral population divided by 12). The two Maaori ward councillors will represent about 13,350 people each (the total Maaori electoral population divided by 2).

How do I enrol to vote in these elections?

If you’re on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at your current address in the Hamilton City Council area then you'll automatically appear on the electoral roll that is used for these elections

If you're not on the Parliamentary Electoral Roll at your current address in the Hamilton City Council area (or you're not sure if you are), you'll need to complete an enrolment form for this. You can either:

  • enrol online at www.elections.org.nz
  • ring 0800 36 76 56
  • send your name and address to Freetext 3676
  • download a form at www.elections.org.nz
  • pick a form up at your local New Zealand Post agency.

If you own a property in this district and it is not your main residence you may be able to enrol as a non-resident ratepayer elector.

Will we still have Maangai Maaori?

Maangai Maaori fulfil a very different role for Council than an elected Maaori ward councillor does.

The Maangai represent the voice of our Maaori partners and provide a valuable contribution on Committees and to Council on a wide range of subjects that are of interest to and benefit from the perspective of our Maaori partners. The are an important line of communication between Council and iwi and maataa waka.

Maaori ward councillors represent the voice of the community and may or may not have affiliations with our Maaori partner organisations. They exist to represent the views of all Hamiltonians and may act independently as all other Elected Members when engaging with the community.

Who are councillors responsible to?

Ultimately the Mayor and councillors' final responsibility is to the local community. The Minister of Local Government and the Auditor–General do have a role in ensuring that council follows the law.

Was iwi consulted on how the Maaori wards seats should be set up?

Yes, we consulted with iwi and maataa waka and they told us one ward would be more unifying and give Maaori greater choice as each voter on the Maaori electoral roll could vote for both Maaori ward seats.

Why are we changing our voting system?

In June 2020 we consulted on whether we should continue using First Past the Post (FPP) or change to STV (single transferable vote) for the 2022 and 2025 elections. We received 928 submissions - 726 respondents (78.1%) wanted to switch to STV and 202 (21.9%) preferred to keep using FPP.

Following feedback Council decided to switch from FPP to using STV for the 2022 and 2025 elections.

The decision to change STV has been made and isn’t being reviewed as part of this representation consultation.

How long will any changes from this review last?

Legally, we are not required to review these decisions for another 6 years. However, considering the important addition of Maaori wards to the system, we have agreed with our Maaori partners to recommend the Council carry out a review of the final arrangements after three years.

Can I enrol on the Maaori roll?

If you are already registered on the general roll and want to change to the Maaori electoral roll you need to wait until the next Census in 2024. If you are not yet registered, you can enrol on either roll at any time. The Government is currently considering whether to allow people to change rolls more frequently.

Where can I view the electoral roll that will be used for this election?

The preliminary electoral roll will be available for inspection at:

  • Customer Services, Hamilton City Council, Municipal Building, Garden Place, Hamilton
  • Hamilton City Council’s Central Library, Garden Place, Hamilton
  • Hillcrest Library, 58 Masters Avenue, Hillcrest, Hamilton
  • Chartwell Library, Lynden Court, Queenwood, Hamilton
  • The University of Waikato, Hamilton Campus, Gate 1, Knighton Road, Hamilton
  • Waikato Resource Migrant Centre, 46G Boundary Road, Claudelands, Hamilton
  • Waikato Regional Council, 160 Ward Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton
Who can I vote for?

If you are enrolled to vote on the general electoral roll you may only vote for candidates standing in the ward you live in and for the Mayor.

If you are enrolled to vote on the Maaori electoral roll you may only vote candidates standing in the Maaori ward and for the Mayor.

Did Council consult on the decision to introduce Maaori wards?

Yes, we consulted in April 2021 and received 994 submissions. More than four out of five responses (81%) favoured Council introducing Maaori wards to achieve better representation.

The decision to add Maaori wards has been made and isn't being reviewed as part of this representation consultation.

Does more councillors mean an increase to the councillors salary?

No. The total councillor salary pool for a Council is based on the population that Council serves and is set by the Remuneration Authority. The total salary amount is then divided by the number of councillors. Adding two more councillors means each councillor will be paid less.

Can Council decide a different structure after consultation?

Yes, if community feedback shows preference for another arrangement of the different components of the representation system.

Some aspects (the STV voting system and introduction of Maaori wards) have already been determined through earlier processes and are not up for review now.

Do I have to be Maaori to vote for Maaori ward candidates?

You do need to be of Maaori descent to register on the Maaori roll, and vote for the Maaori ward candidates.

Why are we reviewing our representation structure?

Councils are legally required to review their representation structure every six years to ensure our representation system remains fair and effective. We last reviewed our system in 2018.

However, in May, Council voted to introduce Maaori wards in time for the 2022 Council elections. This big change triggered the need for Council to review its representation structure again – including the overall number of councillors, the ward system and whether there is a need for community boards.

What are the main decisions to be made?

To determine the most fair and effective representation arrangements as part of a Wider Representation Review, Council must consider:

  • the number of wards (if any), and their boundaries and names
  • how councillors are elected; i.e. from wards, ‘at large’ (across the whole of the city) or a mix of both
  • the number of councillors
  • whether to establish community boards, and, if so, the arrangements for those boards.

In doing so, we have to make sure our arrangements are fair and effective in terms of the number of representatives per capita across the city and the community’s access to them.

Did Council consult the community as part of developing its initial proposal?

While we are not legally obliged to consult with the community when developing our initial proposal for a Wider Representation Review, usually we would. However, this review has been different in that it has come about because of a series of unexpected legislative changes, which means the timeframe we have to carry out the review is much shorter than normal.

Because of this, we did not do any pre-consultation with the wider community this time but instead are using the very extensive research and consultation that we did during the 2018 Representation Review to inform us this time. This approach has been supported by the Electoral Commission. We are however, seeking your views on our initial proposal and welcome feedback as part of this process.

Do I have to be Maaori to run for a Maaori ward seat?

No, anyone can stand for a Maaori ward seat.

Why are there only two Maaori ward seats?

Legally, the number of Maaori ward seats on Council must represent the Maaori Electoral Population (MEP) of Hamilton as a proportion of the total population. 

Currently the MEP is 15.1% of the total population, which means if there are 14 councillors in total, two (or 14.3%) of them must be Maaori seats. This is the number of seats that gets us the closest to 15% of all councillor seats.

What is the role of the councillors?

Mayor and councillors:

  • participate in strategic and long-term planning for the whole city
  • develop policy across a wide range of activities and services
  • represent the city at functions as required
  • review and develop bylaws for the city
  • advocate on a wide range of issues
  • coordinate and form partnerships with other spheres of government and other agencies
  • participate in the appointment and performance review of the chief executive
  • act on all these matters within a legislative and regulatory framework