The Local Government Commission has today confirmed Hastings’ representation arrangements for this year’s local body elections, with the inclusion of the Takitimu Māori ward.
In October last year, Hastings District Council finalised its proposal for its representation arrangements, which were then put before Local Government commissioners for their
The council was required to undertake a review of its representation after it decided to introduce a Māori ward(s).
The confirmed arrangement comprises a mayor and 15 councillors, with three councillors elected from the district-wide Takitimu Māori Ward, seven councillors from the Hastings-Havelock North General Ward, two councillors from the Heretaunga General Ward and one councillor from each of the Flaxmere, Mōhaka and Kahurānaki general wards.
The Rural Community Board will be retained and made up of seven members, four elected members and three appointed councillor members, one of those being from the Takitimu ward.
Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst thanked those in the community who had given their feedback on the proposal.
“The community’s views were important to us as we tried to find the most fair and effective way to represent the many communities of interest across the Hastings district,” she said.
“We are pleased that the Commission accepted our proposal as the best way to represent our district – retaining our existing wards to ensure their unique voices are heard, and having three councillors to represent the Takitimu ward.
“The Takitimu ward will be a significant change for our council that was passionately supported when it was proposed.”
The Commission endorsed the proposal to reduce the number of Flaxmere ward councillors from two to one, a proposal that was deliberated at length by Council.
An alternative was to merge the Flaxmere ward into the Hastings-Havelock North ward, but Council said it wanted to ensure Flaxmere had a distinct voice around the Council table.
Mrs Hazlehurst said that while some submitters and community members may be disappointed with the outcome, Council was looking at initiatives to strengthen representation for Flaxmere.
“These include a Council committee focused on Flaxmere, the possible appointment of an additional councillor (perhaps a Takitimu ward councillor) to have a representation role for Flaxmere, and continuing the close working relationship with the community-based Flaxmere Planning Committee,” she said.
“We are committed to ensuring Flaxmere has a strong voice as we move forward.”
In coming to its decision, the Local Government Commission commended the Council’s intentions and initiatives in this regard and encouraged Council to implement them.
“This is exciting times for Hastings, Heretaunga. The 2022 elections will bring 15 strong, supportive councillors and a mayor to work for our community, supporting each ward’s individual characteristics and aspirations.”