03 August 2018

Bay of Plenty Regional Councillors voted yesterday to maintain the current representation structure as their final representation proposal for the 2019 Local Government elections. They also committed to another review before the 2022 election.

“We’re constrained by the Local Electoral Act with regard to the official population statistics we must refer to, and a maximum cap of 14 councillors for a regional council. Within those constraints, our councillors felt that the current structure continues to offer fair representation for all of the communities in the Bay of Plenty,” said Regional Council Chairman Doug Leeder.

“However, we recognise that parts of the region are growing rapidly and we don’t believe it would be appropriate to wait six years for the next review. We want to look at it again when updated population statistics are available, to make sure that representation remains fair for the 2022 elections,” Chairman Leeder said. 

Councils are required to review their representation structures every six years. Regional Council invited public submissions on a status quo approach in June. Four submissions were received; three of them proposed changes to the number of councillors representing either the Tauranga or Eastern Bay of Plenty constituencies. 

The representation review included the Māori constituencies established under the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Māori Constituency Empowering) Act of 2001.

Regional Council Chief Executive Fiona McTavish said that the final proposal will now be publicly notified and subject to an appeal period.  In adopting the status quo, Council noted the final proposal did not fully comply with the Local Electoral Act and therefore the matter will be referred to the Local Government Commission for a decision.