Council calls for community views on representation

The shape of Invercargill’s future representation is to be decided later this year with an initial proposal out for consultation despite New Zealand’s current COVID-19 alert levels.

A representation review enables the community to have a say in how city councillors are elected, how many councillors there are in total and whether there should be community boards in any areas.

Invercargill City Council Deputy Electoral Officer Michael Morris said the Representation Review was important for the community.

“We want the community to get engaged, get involved and tell us if they think this is the best way to represent Invercargill,” he said.

“Last month Council made a resolution under the Local Electoral Act 2001 around effective representation, considering geographical communities of interest within the Invercargill City district,” he said.

Council adopted its initial representation review proposal, which recommends electing a Mayor and Councillors at large, no Wards, for 12 Councillors to be elected and to retain the Bluff Community Board with five elected board members and one appointed Council representative.

Council decided that Bluff was the only community of interest in terms of the Local Electoral Act, he said.

“But if another community, such as Otatara, felt it wanted a community board we would love to hear about it,” he said.

Council would also like to hear if people want to keep the Single Transferable Vote system (STV), where they rank their votes, or if they would prefer First Past the Post (FPP).

Submissions from the public are invited by Council until 5pm on Friday, September 17, 2021.

“We acknowledge the unique circumstances of lockdown throughout this consultation period but we encourage you to take some of your time during lockdown to think about how you’d like to be represented in the decision making for our city.

“While we can’t currently accept submissions in person at our offices, you can make a submission online by emailing us, completing our online survey or sending us your thoughts in the mail.”

Mr Morris said Council would consider extending the deadline and would take a generous approach to accepting late submissions for those who wish to do so in-person when the city is moved back to Alert Level 2.

“We want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be heard, even in these extraordinary times.”

More information is available on the Council website here in the “How can we represent you” summary document, hard copies will be available at the council main building on Esk St, the Invercargill Public Library or at the Bluff Service Centre once we move Alert levels, or Council can arrange for a copy to be sent out, he said.