COMMUNITY BOARD CHANGES AIM FOR BETTER REPRESENTATION
Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has resolved to retain both its Community Boards but with changes designed to provide better representation for communities of interest.
Under the new model both the National Park Community Board (NPCB) and Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board (WWCB) will now be divided into smaller electoral areas called ‘subdivisions’.
Each subdivision will have its own elected members rather than having all elected members ‘elected at large’ except for the WWCB which will still have one elected member elected at large representing the whole Waimarino/Waiouru Ward.
The NPCB will now comprise four subdivisions and six elected members being; Owhango (1), National Park Ward Rural (2), National Park/Whakapapa (2) and Raurimu Village (1).
The WWCB will comprise five subdivisions and six elected members being; Waimarino/Waiouru Rural (2), Ohakune (1), Raetihi (1), Waiouru (1) and Waimarino/Waiouru Ward (1 – elected at large).
Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron said that the public consultation on the future of the Community Boards was well supported by Ruapehu communities with 65 formal submissions and 21 submitters requesting to support their submission with a presentation to council during the hearing process.
“Council heard from impassioned, thoughtful submitters on both sides of the argument,” he said.
“Despite strong arguments in favour of retaining the Community Boards it was apparent that the old structure and ways were not always delivering the level of representation that many people and communities wanted.”
"In addition it was felt that the Community Boards were no longer fulfilling their original purpose frustrating the Boards, Council and the community.”
“Under the new arrangements residents and ratepayers living within each ‘subdivision’ can nominate people to represent them who they feel more closely understand and represent who they are.”
Mayor Cameron said that residents and ratepayers within a subdivision can only vote for the nominated elected members for that subdivision with the exception of WWCB voters and their one elected member who will be elected at large.
“Council believes that by having smaller electoral areas (subdivisions) this will provide a basis for electing people more closely aligned with the communities of interest they are voted to represent.”
“The key as always is having the right people stand for election,” he said.
“Under this new model if a subdivision ends up without anyone nominated for election Council are able to appoint someone to the position.”
Mayor Cameron added that electoral arrangements for Ruapehu District Council remain the same with 11 councillors representing four Wards as per the status-quo and a mayor elected at large also as per the status-quo.