What is a representation review?

    It’s is a review of the arrangements for electing representatives when local elections are held.

    Why are you doing it?

    All local councils are required to carry out a representation review at least every six years. This is to ensure residents have fair and effective representation at local elections.

    Selwyn District Council undertook the last review in 2015, in preparation for the 2016 elections. So we need to do another review this year (2021), in preparation for 2022 and 2025 local elections.

    What's the current situtation?

    At present, the Council is made up of the mayor, who is elected by all voters in Selwyn district (also referred to as at large), and 11 councillors, who are elected by voters within each of the four existing wards: Ellesmere (2), Malvern (2), Selwyn Central (4), and Springs (3).

    There is also one community board, in the Malvern ward, which has five elected members across two subdivisions: Tawera (2) and Hawkins (3).

    Why do representation arrangements need to change from what’s currently in place?

    The Council’s current electoral representation (11 councillors and four wards) is no longer compliant, so must be changed. 

    Because of the rapid but uneven population growth in Selwyn over recent years, the ratio of population per councillor no longer meets the +/-10% requirement. In particular, the ratio in Selwyn central is now well above the average, while the ratio in Malvern and Ellesmere is significantly lower.

    2014 estimated  population*
    2020 estimated population*
    % increase
    Malvern Ward
    Selwyn Central Ward
    Ellesmere Ward
    Springs Ward

    * Source: Statistics NZ

    This means the current ward boundaries and number of councillors must be reviewed.

    We are considering four preliminary options. Each option represents a different configuration of the number of councillors and wards, and the ward boundaries, in order to meet the fair representation requirements.

    We are also seeking feedback on whether or not residents want to have a community board in their ward.

    What does the representation review look at?

    How the review is undertaken is set out in the Local Electoral Act 2001. The Council has to consider three key factors when reviewing representation arrangements:

    •  Fair representation of electors
    • Communities of interest
    • Effective representation of communities of interest

    What does fair representation mean?

    One of the key requirements for fair representation of electors is that each elected member should represent roughly the same number of people – this helps ensure that all votes are of approximately equal value.

    The population of each ward, divided by the number of members to be elected by their ward, must produce a figure no more than 10% greater or smaller than the population of the district, divided by the total of elected members.

    For example, if the population of a district is 100,000 people and there are 10 elected councillors, the arrangement of wards and councillors must be organised so that each councillor represents around 10,000 people (+ or – 10%).

    This is a key factor in working out the boundaries of wards and number of councillors per ward.

    What is effective representation of communities of interest?

    The legislation does not define what a community of interest is, but the concept includes things like:

    • people feeling a sense of identity and belonging to the area
    • people using the same services
    • elected members being able to represent the interests of the area.

    Achieving effective representation means that wards should be based on communities of interests - that is areas that people identify with and relate to. This helps to determine what ward boundaries should be.

    When deciding the size of wards and their boundaries, communities of interest should not be split. Disparate communities of interest should not be joined together into one ward.

    What are wards and subdivisions?

    Wards and subdivisions are purely ways of splitting up a council area (wards) or community board area (subdivisions) into smaller areas for election purposes. They serve the same function as electorates for national elections. Wards and subdivisions must comply with the requirements for effective representation of communities of interest and fair representation.

    How do the proposed options affect my rates?

    Councillors are funded from district rates, but changes to the ward boundaries or the number of councillors will not have a significant impact on rates. 

    Councillors’ remuneration is based on a fixed pool of funds which is set independently by a government agency, the Remuneration Authority. This amount does not go up or down in relation to the number of councillors. It also means that any change in the number of councillors would not affect the total amount paid to councillors overall, as the total is divided between the number of elected members. 

    Community boards are funded by a targeted rate within the respective ward (see below).

    What are community boards?

    A community board is an elected body that works locally in the specific geographic area it represents. Community boards are often established in wards which cover a wide geographical area and contain groups with significantly different communities of interest. 

    A community board is an unincorporated body and is not a committee of the council. Currently, only the Malvern Ward has a community board.

    Community boards can have a range of purposes including: 

    • representing and advocating for the interests of its local community
    • considering and reporting on matters referred to it by the council
    • maintaining an overview of services provided by the council within the local community
    • preparing submissions to the council for funding within the community
    • communicating with community organisations and special interest groups within the community undertaking any other responsibilities delegated to it by the council.

    What is the process for the representation review?

    Before we decide on a preferred option for new representation arrangements, we want to get the community’s views on different preliminary options. The preliminary consultation is where we are in the process now.

    The Council’s Representation Review Subcommittee will consider the community’s feedback on these preliminary options, along with other analysis and community information, before making a decision on which option to proceed with. 

    The subcommittee’s decision will be in the form of an ‘Initial Proposal’, which will be discussed and adopted by the full Council in August 2021. The Initial Proposal will then go out to the community for formal consultation in September 2021.

    Anyone can make a submission on the initial proposal. After considering all submissions and holding hearings (if required) the council then publicly notifies its final proposal. Any objections or appeals to the final proposal are sent to the Local Government Commission, which makes the final decision.

    Who sits on the Council’s Representation Review Subcommittee?

    The subcommittee comprises Councillors Mark Alexander (Chair), Shane Epiha (Deputy Chair), Grant Miller and Jenny Gallagher, Mayor Sam Broughton and Malvern Community Board Chair Mr John Morten.

    How can I have my say?

    You can complete the feedback form online. Printed forms will also be available from Council service centres and libraries. Alternatively, you can also email us your comments at representation@selwyn.govt.nz.

    When does the preliminary consultation close?

    Consultation is open until 5pm, Friday 30 July.