Representation Review 2018

The review of Horizons Regional Council's representation arrangements for the October 2019 local body elections has been completed. As a result, for the next two elections twelve elected members will be voted for across six constituencies, as follows:

Constituency No. of representatives Description
Ruapehu 1 Ruapehu District and the parts of Waitomo and Stratford Districts in the region
Whanganui 2 Whanganui District
Manawatū-Rangitikei 2 Rangitīkei District (except the part of the district in the Hawke's Bay Region), Manawatū District, and the part of the Taupō District in the region
Palmerston North 4 Palmerston North City
Horowhenua 2 Horowhenua District
Tararua 1 Tararua District except the part of the district in the Greater Wellington Region

Map of constituency boundaries

This map shows the boundaries of Horizons' six constituencies. Note that the constituencies are aligned to the seven territorial authorities that are all or almost all within the Horizons Region (Horowhenua, Manawatū, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu, Tararua and Whanganui District Councils and Palmerston North City Council), except the small areas that don't line up with Horizons' regional boundary.

What has changed since the election in 2016?

The Local Government Commission made a few changes to the arrangements that were in place for the last few elections. The boundary between two of Horizons’ constituencies (Horowhenua-Kairanga and Manawatū-Rangītikei) has been changed by the Local Government Commission. The constituencies are now called ‘Horowhenua’ and ‘Manawatū-Rangītikei’, and the boundary between them is the same as the District Council boundary.

This change affects some voters who live in the Manawatū District. If you live anywhere in the Manawatū District, in the October election you will vote in the Manawatū-Rangītikei Constituency. You don’t need to make any change to your electoral enrolment, this will happen automatically.

The Commission also updated the name of Whanganui Constituency, adding the 'h'.

Key documents

Documents associated with  Local Government Commission's decision ('determination') on Horizon's representation review:

Local Government Commission's determination
Local Government Commission media release

The following documents were sent to the Local Government Commission following Council's adoption of its final proposal and the close of appeals.
Report for the Local Government Commission
Annex A - Horizons Regional Council constituency boundaries
Annex B - Presentation to Council workshop 28 Feb 2018
Annex C - Supporting information for Council workshop 28 Feb 2018
Annex D - Report to Council on initial proposal 27 Mar 2018
Annex E - Report to Submissions Hearing 30 May 2018
Annex F - Council resolutions from Submissions Hearing & Council meeting 30 May 2018
Annex G - Appeal (Mark Chilcott)
Annex H - Appeal (Adam Canning)
Annex I - Report to Council referring final proposal to LGC 28 Aug 2018
Annex J - Council resolution referring final proposal to Local Government Commission 28 Aug 2018
Annex K - Copy of Horizons report to Local Government Commission Jan 2013

What is a representation review?

All local authorities have to carry out a review of the number of councillors, and the number and boundaries of areas they represent every six years. This ensures that people and communities have access to fair and effective representation of their interests by their local councils.

This part of the review involves councils adopting an initial proposal, and then asking communities to tell us what they think through submissions. Council will hold a hearing for any submitters who would like to present their views in person. Councillors then consider the submissions before deciding on the final proposal.

After the final proposal has been adopted, there will be an opportunity for submitters to appeal the outcome, and for anyone to object if there are changes from the initial proposal. Any appeals or objections are referred to the Local Government Commission to resolve.

The representation review process is set out in the Local Electoral Act 2001. You can find out more from the Local Government Commission, which has a role in ensuring councils' reviews are carried out properly and their arrangements meet the requirements of the Act, and the Commission's guidelines.

Horizons' representation review process

Horizons decided to adopt the existing representation arrangements as its 'initial proposal' for community consultation on 27 March 2018, after considering an extensive range of alternatives at a workshop on 28 February 2019. After hearing from submitters, Council confirmed the existing arrangement as the 'final proposal' – the preferred option for the next two local authority elections – at a meeting on 30 May 2018,

The opportunity for submitters to appeal this decision closed on Monday 23 July 2018, and two submissions were received. In September, Horizons forwarded the final proposal, the appeals and supporting information about the review process to the Local Government Commission, who will decide the final arrangement. The Commission would also have had to make this decision if no appeals had been received. This is because Council's final proposal does not meet the 'fair representation' criteria in section 19V of the Local Electoral Act; that is, the average number of people that councillors in some constituencies represent is greater than 10 percent more or less than the average number of people per councillor across the region.

The Local Government Commission conducted a hearing of the appeals on 27 February 2019, at Horizons Regional Council in Palmerston North. The Commission finalised its decision ('determination') on 1 April 2019. They made some changes to the option Horizons' had adopted:

The boundary between the Manawatū-Rangitīkei and Horowhenua-Kairanga Constituencies has been moved so it is the same as the boundary between the Horowhenua and Manawatū District Councils' boundary. There have also been some changes to the name of some of the constituencies.

What had to be considered?

There are three things that have to be balanced in a representation review - identifying communities of interest, effective representation, and fair representation. Alongside these factors, regional councils must have between six and fourteen elected councillors, and the boundaries of constituencies must align as much as possible with other electoral boundaries (such as district council or ward boundaries).

Communities of interest are based on perceptual (belonging to a clearly defined area or locality), functional (ability to meet with reasonable economy the community's requirements for comprehensive physical and human services) and political (the ability of the elected body to represent the interests and reconcile the conflicts of all its members) attributes.

Effective representation includes avoiding barriers to participation, and not splitting communities of interest or grouping together those with few common interests. Things like the size and accessibility of an area are also important, to ensure that all residents can access their councillors, and councillors can attend meetings and represent their communities' views.

Fair representation seeks to ensure that each councillor represents a similar number of people. If the difference from the average is more than 10 percent in any constituency, then the Local Government Commission will make the final determination on whether council's final proposal is appropriate.

The Local Government Commission guidelines describe these concepts in more detail.  

Regional, City or District Council – What's the difference?

Your city or district council is responsible for community services in your area, like road maintenance, libraries, recreation areas, land use and subdivisions. Your regional council manages natural resources (such as air, water, land and the coast), across several city / district boundaries. Because these activities often cover large geographic areas, Horizons manages them for the benefit of the whole region. Many of the ten city and district councils that make up the Horizons Region will be reviewing their representation arrangements this year, in separate processes.