2009_august_11_-_rep_rev_panel_final_report

					REPRESENTATION REVIEW 2009




INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL REPORT
          TO COUNCIL




           JULY 2009
2
                                                TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...........................................................................................................5
1.0      Introduction .....................................................................................................................9

PART A:            THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK AND GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWS...................11
2.0      The Legal Framework...................................................................................................11
         2.1        The Local Electoral Act 2001 (LEA)..................................................................11
         2.2        The Local Government Act 2002 ......................................................................11
3.0      Local Government Commission Guidelines on Process and Definitions......................12
         3.1        Three Steps ......................................................................................................12
         3.2        Communities of Interest ....................................................................................12
         3.3        Effective Representation...................................................................................13
4.0      Representation Systems...............................................................................................13
5.0      Community Boards .......................................................................................................15

PART B:            THE REVIEW PROCESS .................................................................................17
6.0      The Process Followed By the Independent Review Panel ...........................................17
         6.1        Appointment of Independent Review Panel......................................................17
         6.2        General Principles Adopted by Panel ...............................................................17
         6.3        Public Discussion Document ............................................................................18
                    6.3.1      The Discussion Document ....................................................................18
                    6.3.2      Distribution of the document .................................................................18
         6.4        Media and Advertising ......................................................................................19
         6.5        Public Discussion..............................................................................................21
         6.6        Questionnaires..................................................................................................21
         6.7        Liaison with Local Government Commission ....................................................21

PART C:            RESULTS .........................................................................................................23
7.0      Results..........................................................................................................................23
         7.1        Public Meetings.................................................................................................23
         7.2        Questionnaires..................................................................................................23
         7.3        Summary of Panel and Public Views ................................................................29
                    7.3.1      Communities of Interest ........................................................................29
                    7.3.2      The Preferred System of Representation .............................................29
                    7.3.3      Total Number of Councillors .................................................................31
                    7.3.4      Community Boards ...............................................................................31
                    7.3.5      Is Change Needed? ..............................................................................31
                    7.3.6      Other Ways for the Council to Engage with Communities ....................31


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PART D:             DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS ...............................................................33
8.0       Discussion ....................................................................................................................33
          8.1        National Situation – Representation Systems and Community Boards ............33
          8.2        Recent Decisions of the Local Government Commission.................................34
                     8.2.1      General .................................................................................................34
                     8.2.2      Napier Decision.....................................................................................35
                     8.2.3      Palmerston North Decision ...................................................................35
          8.3        Invercargill.........................................................................................................36
                     8.3.1      Mechanisms for Community Engagement ............................................36
                     8.3.2      Socio-Economic Data ...........................................................................37
9.0       Conclusions ..................................................................................................................39
          9.1        The Public View ................................................................................................39
          9.2        Invercargill Situation..........................................................................................40
          9.3        The Panel View.................................................................................................40

APPENDICES ..........................................................................................................................43
The appendices are available on request to the Council. They are also available on-line at
the Council website: www.icc.govt.nz




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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.   This is a report on the pre-review consultation which has taken place as Stage One of
     the Representation Review 2009. The aim of this phase has been to develop
     representation options, discuss these in the community and form a view about the
     matters to be decided in the Review.

2.   A Representation Review requires a determination of whether there are separate
     communities of interest within Invercargill Territorial Authority and if so, whether they
     can nevertheless be grouped together for effective representation. If they can, an
     at-large system would be appropriate. To the extent that they cannot be grouped
     together and still receive effective representation, Council would have to choose from
     the other methods or tools in the Local Electoral Act, namely, wards, a mixed system
     of wards and at-large and/or community boards.

3.   Council appointed an Independent Review Panel comprising five members of the
     public, one Iwi representative and one Councillor as Chair. The Panel has been
     assisted by an independent consultant.

4.   The Panel established two principles in relation to the process it would follow.

     The first principle was that the Panel wanted responses which were authentic and
     valid and based on a proper understanding of a representation review and the options
     available. To achieve this, the Panel adopted a two stage process with Stage One
     being public education. Key tools for achieving this were the production of the Public
     Discussion Document and the media coverage. The second stage was the gathering
     of public opinion through the five public meetings and one hui and through
     questionnaires.

     The second principle was equity of access for all residents in the Invercargill
     Territorial Authority area. For this reason, the Panel chose not to use existing
     community groups or organisations as Representation Review meetings as they
     believed this could privilege the participation of some groups over others. While the
     Panel realised that the participation rate via public meetings was likely to be much
     lower, it nevertheless opted for this approach to preserve the equal right of all
     residents to participate.

5.   The work of the Panel has focused on the definition and assessment of communities
     of interest, the development of possible options for wards and mixed systems of
     representation, the production of the Public Discussion Document, development of
     the communications and consultation plans, attending the public meetings and the
     analysis of results and the report for Council.

6.   The Panel went to great lengths to distribute the Public Discussion Document as
     widely as possible, enlisting primary schools in Invercargill and Aurora College as
     well as the Supermarkets, The Warehouse, the Public Library, Bluff Service Centre
     and the Civic Centre as distribution mechanisms. It also wrote to over 32 service
     organisations to inform them about the Review. A media programme was instigated,
     which had a dual role of educating as well as publicising the public meetings. Local
     fliers were posted in numerous locations in each district advertising the public
     meetings and a $100 dinner voucher was offered as a prize at each venue. The
     meetings were also separately advertised in the media.

7.   The campaign won public praise for the way in which it was conducted.


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8.    Despite these efforts, the level of responses via questionnaire and attendance at the
      public meetings was low, representing only a small fraction of the Invercargill
      Territorial Authority population. The Panel feels that this in itself can be taken as an
      indicator that there is not a large groundswell for change. In any case, the Panel can
      only take into account the views it has before it in assessing public opinion.

The Public View

9.    Among the responses there was however a reasonably high level of uniformity in the
      views expressed when these are broken down by area. The summary of results
      shows that:

      (i)      While people tended to think that the area in which they lived, at least, was a
               community of interest, this did not necessarily translate into wanting any
               change in their form of representation (with the exception of Otatara and
               South Invercargill, as noted below).

      (ii)     There was clear support across the district for Bluff as a community of interest
               and for the retention of the Bluff Community Board.

      (iii)    As well, the members of the Bluff community who attended the public meeting
               and/or completed the section of the questionnaire relating to their views of the
               Bluff Community Board all said they were entirely satisfied with their Board
               and its boundaries. They were also satisfied with the status quo in general.

      (iv)     A high percentage of respondents from North Invercargill favoured the status
               quo. Many supported Bluff as a separate community of interest.
               Questionnaire respondents however showed a preference for a mixed system
               of representation with eight preferring mixed, four preferring at-large and no
               votes for an entirely ward system.

      (v)      Myross Bush appeared to favour the status quo in terms of the number of
               Councillors and community boards, but to favour either a mixed or ward
               system of representation rather than at-large.

      (vi)     The view from the Hui was in favour of at-large and the status quo.

      (vii)    Otatara residents were strongly of the view they are a community of interest
               and that they want more voice and more consultation. At the public meeting,
               their preference was a Residents Association if it can be funded via a grant or
               targeted rate. Failing this, they would consider the option of a community
               board. A high majority was happy with the at-large system of election.

      (viii)   The majority of South Invercargill residents thought they were not receiving
               effective representation under the current system. The preferred change was
               in the system of election to either mixed or wards, and there was little interest
               in a community board.

      (ix)     A majority of all respondents wanted some additional engagement with
               Council, and there was a high degree of consensus in preferring this to be
               “face to face” interaction. The most commonly mentioned means were clinics
               and community-based meetings.




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Invercargill Situation

10.    Invercargill City Council has limited means of community engagement below that of
       the district as a whole, particularly as regards geographically based communities. On
       the other hand, in decisions in the last round of Representation Review Appeals, the
       Commission has said it believes that effective mechanisms for engagement between
       the communities and the Council are fundamental to the purpose of local
       government. It has also regarded disparities in socio-economic status as the most
       important factor in impacting the existence and effectiveness of that engagement.

11.    Invercargill has patterns of socio-economic disadvantage which show a general
       correlation to a north/south pattern.

12.    Based on its recent decisions, the Commission could take the view that:

       (a)      South Invercargill is under-represented at Councillor level, is an area that is
                generally of greater socio-economic disadvantage and, while not responding
                in large numbers, did show a high level of consistency in being unhappy with
                the current system and in wanting a change in the system of representation.
                In these circumstances, the Commission might feel that some form of ward or
                mixed system is required.

       (b)      Otatara merits a form of community representation.

       (c)      Bluff is a community of interest and merits the continuation of the current
                community board unchanged as to boundaries and the number of members.

       (d)      There are no grounds for change in Myross Bush or among the rural
                community, or in the northern urban area of Invercargill.

Panel View

13.     The Panel recognises:

        (i)     The interest that was shown in a mixed system of representation by
                respondents across the board.        If these results are taken from the
                questionnaires returned by North and South Invercargill only, an area which
                includes the majority of the population, and which represented 68% of the
                total responses, 12 out of 25 favoured a mixed system, nine favoured at-large
                and four favoured a ward system.

        (ii)    That respondents from Otatara and South Invercargill were unhappy with the
                current system.

        (iii)   That the majority of questionnaire respondents wanted alternative or
                additional means of community engagement with Council

14.     However, the Panel also notes:

        (i)     The equality of access that was provided to all residents to participate in the
                Review.

        (ii)    The very low response rate in terms of attendance at the public meetings and
                the questionnaires and the difficulty in using these results as the basis for
                fundamental change.


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      (iii)   The overall desire to retain the status quo expressed by the majority of
              participants at the public meetings.

      (iv)    The difficulty in finding a sensible geographic division for wards or a mixed
              system that is just for everyone and does not result in significantly less
              representation for some.

      (v)     The strong community of interest at a district-wide level.

      (vi)    That the community issues identified may be better resolved by means other
              than wards.

      (vii)   That non Local Electoral Act solutions will provide greater flexibility and would
              allow Councillors to work in the community to their strengths.

15.   The Panel believes that only Bluff meets the criteria for a separate community of
      interest as defined by the Local Electoral Act 2001.

16.   It also believes that effective representation for Bluff is provided by the existing
      Community Board and agrees with its continuance and its membership and
      boundaries as currently defined.

17.   The Panel believes that the status quo could prevail with an         at-large system of
      representation, the same number of Councillors and the Bluff         Community Board.
      However, in addition to and outside the remedies provided by the     Local Electoral Act,
      the Panel believes that additional means of geographically            based community
      engagement are needed. These could be:

      (i)     A programme of Councillor Clinics by area.
      (ii)    A regular programme of community area meetings.
      (iii)   The development of a policy to provide basic support to residents groups
              which meet defined criteria.




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1.0    INTRODUCTION
Under the Local Electoral Act 2001 (LEA), the Council must carry out a representation
review during 2009, and implement any changes in time for the local government elections in
2010.

Reviews are governed by the Local Electoral Act, the Local Government Act and the
guidelines produced by the Local Government Commission. Although the latter are not
legally binding, they constitute best practice and Council adherence to the guidelines would
be taken into account in any appeal to or review by the Commission.

The objective of a review is to determine what would provide effective representation for
individuals and communities of interest in the Invercargill TA district. In light of this, the LEA
requires councils to review how Councillors are to be elected, the total number of Councillors
and whether there should be community boards.

The Commission guidelines recommend a pre-review consultation phase to generate
options and promote discussion prior to Council making its decision. To assist in this,
Council appointed an Independent Review Panel in January 2009. In this report, the Panel
presents its views and reports the findings of its public discussions and input.

The overall timeline for the review is shown in the table below.

Date                        Actions
February 2009               The Council appointed an independent advisory Panel of five
                            members of the public, one Iwi Representative and one
                            Councillor.

February – March 2009       The Panel met to discuss where communities of interest exist and
                            the requirements for effective and fair representation. The Panel
                            developed options for representation and community boards
April 2009                  The Panel produced a public discussion document and published
                            information in the paper and on radio. People were invited to
                            discuss the options during May 2009.
May 2009                    The Panel conducted public meetings and also received views via
                            the internet, email and by post.
July 2009                   The Panel reports to Council on what people think and the
                            options.
11 August 2009              Council decides which Representation Option it prefers, called
                            “The Initial Proposal”.
15 August until             The Initial Proposal is published in the Public Notices section of
15 September 2009           the newspaper and people are invited to make formal
                            submissions.
Early October 2009          Council holds a hearing on the submissions.
3 November 2009             Council decides on its final proposal.
7 November 2009             Council publishes the final proposal in the Public Notices.
No later than               If any appeals or objections are received, the Review is referred to
15 January 2010             the Local Government Commission for a decision.




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10
PART A:       THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK AND GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWS



2.0    THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK

2.1    The Local Electoral Act 2001 (LEA)
Section 4(1)(a) of the LEA provides that one of the principles the Act is designed to
implement is the provision of “fair and effective representation for individuals and
communities”.

The specific tasks for local councils in conducting a representation review are specified in
sections 19H and 19J of the LEA. Section 19H requires councils to determine how members
will be elected (at-large, a mixed system or wards), the total number of elected
representatives and, where relevant, ward boundaries and names. Section 19J requires that
every time a review is carried out under section 19H, a review must also be carried out of
whether there is a need for community boards and if so, their nature and structure.

In making its decisions on both the system of election and community boards, councils
must ensure that there will be effective representation of communities of interest within
the district (section 19T(a) and section 19W(b)) and that, as far as practicable, ward
boundaries coincide with community boundaries.

There is an additional requirement for fair representation in relation to wards, or
subdivisions of community boards. In this context, fair representation requires that each
ward councillor, or community board subdivision, must represent the same number of
people, plus or minus 10%.


2.2    The Local Government Act 2002
Local authorities carrying out representation reviews also need to bear in mind relevant
provisions of the Local Government Act 2002. Section 13 provides that sections 10
(Purpose of Local Government) and 12(2) (Status and powers) “apply to a local authority
performing a function under another enactment to the extent that the application of those
provisions is not inconsistent with the other enactment”.

In addition to sections 3 and 10 of the LGA relating to the purpose of the Act and the
purpose of Local Government, section 14, which sets out principles for local authorities,
also applies:

Section 14:
(1)(b) A local authority should make itself aware of, and should have regard to, the
       views of all of its communities; and
(1)(c) When making a decision, a local authority should take account of –
       (i) The diversity of the community, and the community’s interests, within its
             district or region; and
       (ii) The interests of future as well as current communities; and
       (iii) The likely impact of any decision on each aspect of well-being referred to in
             Section 10.




                                            11
Councils must also comply with sections 77, 78 and 81 of the LGA. These set out
requirements for local authorities when making decisions including consultation with and
contributions to decision-making by Maori, the requirement to identify and assess all
reasonably practicable options and the need to give consideration at all stages to the views
and preferences of persons likely to be affected by or interested in the decision. Section 82
must also be followed. This sets out the principles of consultation, including the need to
encourage affected or interested persons to present their views.

The relevant provisions of both the LEA and the LGA are included in full in Appendix 1A and
Appendix 1B.


3.0    LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION GUIDELINES ON PROCESS AND DEFINITIONS

3.1    Three Steps
The Commission says that a three step process should be followed in carrying out a review:

1.     Identify communities of interest
       The Commission said that defining communities of interest is an essential part of the
       review process, and a necessary precursor to determining effective representation.
2.     Determine effective representation for those communities of interest
       The review must decide whether each identified community of interest needs
       separate representation or whether communities of interest can be grouped together
       in certain ways to achieve effective representation.
3.     Consider the fair representation of electors


3.2    Communities of Interest
The Council must ensure that the election of Councillors provides effective representation of
the community or communities of interest within its area. Giving proper consideration to
defining local communities of interest is therefore an essential part of the representation
review process.

The term “community of interest” however is not defined in the legislation and it can mean
different things to different people. It can also change over time. While it is possible to
decide that the whole local authority district is a single community of interest where residents
believe they share common interests across the city, the Local Government Commission has
also said that a person can be both a member of the city as a whole, and a smaller local
community.

The Panel used a number of criteria to assess whether different geographic areas of the
Invercargill Territorial Authority might be a community of interest for representation
purposes. The criteria were:

      The history of the area influences and contributes to the current sense of community
      The area is bounded by distinct or clear topography
      Distinct land use
      Strong issues specific to the area
      Shared and unique economic activities
      Completeness of community services (schools, shops, services)
      Demographic or socio-economic disparity
      Ethnic groups or cultural significance which are an important aspect in defining the
       community



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3.3    Effective Representation
Once the community or communities of interest have been defined, the Council is required to
consider whether each identified community of interest needs separate representation or
whether communities of interest can be grouped together to achieve effective
representation.

The Council must consider whether effective representation is best achieved by way of:

      an at-large (city wide) system
      a ward system
      a mixed system, with election partially at-large and partially by ward

Additionally or alternatively, the Council might consider that a community board is necessary
to provide effective representation for some communities.

While what constitutes effective representation will be specific to each local authority
area, the Commission said the following factors should be considered to the extent
possible:

      Avoiding arrangements that may create barriers to participation, such as at large
       elections, for example by not recognising residents’ familiarity and identity with an
       area.
      Not splitting recognised communities of interest between electoral subdivisions.
      Not grouping together two or more communities of interest that share few
       commonalities of interest.
      Accessibility, size and configuration of an area including:
            Would the population have reasonable access to its elected members and
             vice versa?
            Would elected members be able to effectively represent the views of their
             electoral area?
            Would elected members be able to attend public meetings throughout the
             area, and provide reasonable opportunities for face-to-face meetings?

Another aspect of effective representation is the total number of Councillors. The
Commission said that local authorities should consider the total number of members
necessary to provide effective representation for the district as a whole taking into
account such factors as the size, nature and diversity of the district or region.


4.0    REPRESENTATION SYSTEMS

The Local Electoral Act allows for three options – at-large, all wards or a mixed system of
wards and at-large. The Commission notes that the characteristics that have generally
been evident for those territorial authorities that have opted for elections at large include:

      The district having a relatively compact geographic area and/or
      Very strong commonalities of interest among identified communities of interest ie
       a shared common community of interest at the district level and/or,
      Distinct communities of interest are not geographically located but spread across
       the district.




                                              13
The Commission said that the mixed option may be best where clear district-wide
communities of interest exist in tandem with specific geographically based communities
of interest.

The Panel put a lot of effort into looking at potential boundaries for a ward and mixed
system and encountered some difficulties in coming up with acceptable options. The
difficulties centred around the requirement for fair representation, ie that each Councillor
represent approximately the same number of residents, and the make-up of the
Invercargill TA area where most of the population live in urban areas but where the land
area is predominantly rural. This always meant that in a ward system Bluff would be
required to join with residents all the way up to Myross Bush, or include a part of South
Invercargill – which does not meet the Commission guidelines to join only similar
communities together. In a mixed system, the likelihood was that all of rural/semi-rural,
from Otatara, up to Makarewa and Myross Bush and down to, and including Bluff, would
be required to form one ward, with one representative.

In the opinion of the Panel, the factors in favour of the three options include:

Factors in favour of an at-large system:

      Electors are able to vote for all Councillors and so have a much wider choice of
       candidates.
      Electors are more likely to feel they have a say in the running of the entire city
       through being able to vote for all Councillors rather than just those standing in a
       particular part of the city.
      At-large candidates are only required to act in the interests of the district as a whole
       and it may therefore be easier for Councillors to take a district wide perspective. 1 An
       elector can ask any Councillor for help and is not limited to their local ward
       Councillors.
      An at-large system may assist in achieving more diverse representation. For
       example, ethnic minority groups and other interest groups which are spread across
       the city could have a greater chance of being elected in an at-large system.
      If electors are given the opportunity to pass judgement on all candidates, increased
       accountability may result.


Factors in favour of a ward system:

      Representation is likely to be more evenly distributed geographically across the
       district although candidates are not required to live in the ward in which they are
       standing.
      Potential candidates could find the financial and time costs of campaigning less
       prohibitive in a ward than an at-large system. 2
      It encourages residents to become better informed on candidates and their policies
       because there are fewer candidates, who may also be better known to locals.


1
  Although ward Councillors are also required to act in the interests of the district as a whole, in
practice this may be harder to do since their re-election depends on keeping their ward constituents
happy.
2
  The Local Electoral Act specifies the maximum amount that can be spent by each candidate on their
campaign, depending on the population in the area they are campaigning for. For example, a ward of
between 4,999 and 10,000 people allows a maximum spend of $7,000 whereas a territory the size of
Invercargill as a whole would allow a spend of $30,000.



                                                14
      It may improve accountability in that ward and ensure a closer link between the
       Council and residents of particular parts of the district, thereby contributing to the
       effective delivery of local services and facilities. Residents may also feel more able
       to approach ward Councillors directly.
      A ward system may enable more effective management of the community/council
       consultation processes.

Factors in favour of a mixed system:

      Electors can vote for more than just their ward Councillor(s) as they are also able to
       vote for Councillors being elected at-large. This could reduce the frustration some
       voters feel in a ward only system at being able to vote for a much smaller number of
       Councillors.
      A mixed system could provide a better balance of interests between the district as a
       whole and the needs of specific wards.
      A mixed system still provides specific ward (local) representation, although the wards
       would be bigger and have fewer Councillors than under an entirely ward system.
      The option of ward representation, with the lesser campaign costs and time
       involvement could encourage a wider range of candidates to stand.
      A part ward system would still provide some of the anticipated better linkages
       between the Council and residents of particular parts of the district


5.0    COMMUNITY BOARDS

In carrying out a review of the need for community boards, two levels of decisions are
required:

      Whether there should be communities and community boards within the territorial
       authority’s district.
      If the territorial authority considers that one or more communities should be
       constituted (or retained), the nature of the community and the structure of the
       community board.

In making the decisions required by the review under section 19J, regard must also be had
to the criteria for reorganisation proposals specified in schedule 3 of the Local Government
Act 2002 (LGA). These criteria include whether the proposal will promote good local
government of the parent district and community areas concerned, whether the district and
the community have the resources necessary to carry out its duties, responsibilities and
power and whether the district and community encompass an area that is appropriate for the
efficient and effective exercise of its responsibilities, duties and powers.

A recent seminar on representation reviews in Wellington came up with the following list
of criteria which could be applied in deciding whether a community board should be
established or continued:

      Is there a community of interest and what is the connection to the rest of the territorial
       authority district?
      Does the community want a community board and are there sufficient people willing
       to stand?
      Does the board have a clear purpose?
      Is it the best form of representation for the community, rather than, for example, ward
       forums or residents associations?



                                               15
      Is it fair, considering the impact on communities without boards?
      Overall, is the board the right answer?

Other relevant statutory provisions are section 19F (there must be between four and
12 members, more than half of which must be elected rather than appointed members)
and 19G which allows for the subdivision of a community board area into wards.

Appendix 2 lists the specific decisions that must be made in reviews of community boards
under section 19J of the LEA.




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PART B:        THE REVIEW PROCESS



6.0    THE PROCESS FOLLOWED BY THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL

6.1    Appointment of Independent Review Panel
At its meeting on 27 January 2009 Council appointed six persons to an Independent Review
Panel being five independents and one Iwi Representative. The five independents were:

      Margaret Cook
      Alan Derrrick
      Robyn Hickman
      Joe O’Connell
      Tony O’Neill

Iwi appointed Stephen Bragg as their representative.

Council Norman Elder was appointed as the Council Member and Chair of the Panel.

The terms of reference included the following: To report to Council on:

(i)    The representation options that were developed
(ii)   The feedback and results of the community consultation including the community’s
       views of the options and their desire (if any) for more or different representation.

The full terms of reference are included as Appendix 3.

The Panel has met ten times between February 9 and July 15, 2009. Initial meetings
focused on defining a community of interest for the purposes of the review, and in assessing
whether any communities within the Invercargill Territorial Authority Area met this definition.
The Panel then moved on to discussing effective representation, and the development of
possible options for wards and a mixed system. This was followed by the development of
the Public Discussion Document and plans for communication and consultation. Panel
members also attended all the public meetings and the Hui.

6.2    General Principles Adopted by Panel
The Panel established two principles in relation to the process it would follow.

The first principle was that the Panel wanted responses which were authentic and valid and
based on a proper understanding of a representation review and the options available. To
achieve this, the Panel adopted a two stage process. The first stage was to educate the
public about representation reviews. Key tools for achieving this were the production of the
Public Discussion Document and the media coverage. The second stage was the gathering
of public opinion through the public meetings and through questionnaires.

The second principle was equity of access for all residents in the Invercargill Territorial
Authority area. For this reason, the Panel chose not to use existing community groups or
organisations as Representation Review meetings as they believed this could privilege the
participation of some groups over others. While the Panel realised that the participation rate
via public meetings was likely to be much lower, it nevertheless opted for this approach to
preserve the equal right of all residents to participate.



                                              17
6.3       Public Discussion Document

6.3.1 The Discussion Document

A discussion document was produced for the purpose of educating the public about
representation reviews and presenting one or more examples of each representation system
to promote discussion. The document also included a questionnaire. The final version of
the copy was approved by the Local Government Commission and 8,000 copies were
printed.

The Panel elected to include in the document examples of what the different systems of
representation could look like in the Invercargill Territorial Authority Area. The difficulty the
Panel had in coming up with sensible boundaries has been covered earlier, in section 4.0,
page 10. Having looked at a great many options, the Panel chose the following for inclusion
in the document, assuming the status quo of 12 Councillors:

         At-large: All 12 Councillors elected by all voters (the Status Quo option).
         Wards: North and South Invercargill forming two wards with each electing five
          representatives. Bluff and up to Myross Bush forming one ward with one Councillor,
          and the remaining area of Makarewa and including the Otatara Peninsula electing
          one Councillor. The Panel chose this option because it believed that realistically, the
          only urban division that most people recognised was a north/south split.
         Mixed: The option chosen by the Panel was for six Councillors elected by Wards and
          six at-large. Representatives were however then representing double the number of
          residents over the Ward only option, which exacerbated the difference between rural
          and urban. The one rural Councillor would need to cover the area from Bluff, all the
          way up the rural collar to Makarewa and down to Otatara.

6.3.2 Distribution of the document

A decision was taken not to distribute the document to every household in the district. This
was because of the nature of the project, which was not considered to have widespread
interest, and secondly, the cost. The Local Government Commission was consulted and
agreed with this decision.

Instead the following means of distribution were used:

         4760 copies of the document were distributed to families via all but one primary
          school 3 and to Aurora College. The schools also mentioned the review and public
          meetings in school newsletters.
         A letter outlining the review, providing the dates for the public meetings, and offering
          to supply copies of the document was sent to 32 service clubs and organisations.
         Special distribution boxes were made and placed in most supermarkets (New World
          at South City and Windsor, Pak’N Save, Countdown) and The Warehouse as well as
          the Public Library. Brochure display stands with copies of the document were
          located at Woolworths Supermarket, Otatara Four Square, the Bluff Service Centre
          and the Civic Administration Building in Esk Street. Most articles and advertising
          referred to these locations in informing people where they could get a copy of the
          document.
         The document was loaded on the Council website, and there was an icon on the
          Homepage which took viewers directly to the Representation Review page.


3
    Except St Teresa’s School in Bluff which did not respond despite repeated messages.


                                                  18
6.4     Media and Advertising

The following table summarises the press, radio and television coverage in relation to the
public consultation.

Press

 Date                   Medium                Comment
 3 December 2008        Southland Times       “Council to undertake six-year review”
 3 December 2008        ICC Website           Press Release is loaded on to the website
                                              announcing the review
 11 December 2008       Southland Express     “Review Underway”
 17 December 2008       Advertisement in      “Electoral Representation Advisory Panel –
 20 December 2008       Public Notices for    six positions available”
 10 January 2009        applications for
                        Review Panel
 17 December 2008       ICC Website           “Representation Review: The Invercargill
                                              City Council is looking for six local people to
                                              sit on an Advisory Panel ….”               The
                                              advertisement and the Terms of Reference
                                              were also loaded on the site.
 2 February 2009        ICC Press Release     “Six named on Independent Advisory
                                              Panel”
 3 February 2009        ICC Website           “Boards, wards or districts: city names
                                              Review Panel”
 10 February 2009       ICC Website           Representation Review – Independent
                                              Advisory Panel – a photo of the Panel at its
                                              first meeting
 19 February 2009       Southland Express     “Advisory Panel to meet with the
                        “Community News”      community” plus photo
                        – two page paid
                        editorial
 22 April 2009          Southland Times       “Time to Voice Your Choice. The future:
                        “Noticeboard” –       wards, boards a mix or more of the same?”
                        one page paid
                        editorial
 22 April 2009          Southland Times –     “Airport flies at last” – last paragraph
                        Mayor’s column        mentions the review
 27 April 2009          ICC Website           “Voice Your Choice” (logo) plus link to
                                              on-line feedback form and the Public
                                              Discussion Document. Also include the
                                              dates of the public meetings
 29 April 2009          ICC Press Release     “Primary school children given Voice Your
                                              Choice booklet”
 30 April 2009          Southland Express     “Voice Your Choice hits the supermarkets”,
                        “Community News”      with photo
                        – two page paid
                        editorial
 30 April 2009          Southland Times       “Your Say” photo of school children holding
                                              the Public Discussion document with article
                                              about Representation Review




                                             19
 Date                   Medium                   Comment
 May/June 2009          ICC – Rates              Back page features an article on the
                        newsletter               Representation Review. Posted to every
                                                 ratepayer
 7 May 2009             ICC Website              “Super way to be put in the picture” – photo
                                                 of local Countdown Supermarket manager
                                                 with the distribution box for the Public
                                                 Discussion Document that was located in
                                                 the foyer of Countdown
 7 May 2009             Southland Express        “Working it Out” - photo of school children
                                                 with Voice Your Choice document and
                                                 article about Representation Review
 8 May 2009             The Eye                  Advertisement of dates of public meetings
 8 May 2009             Southland Times –        “Voice Your Choice Delivery” and Council
                        Letters to Editor        reply. Query was why Council had used
                                                 school children to distribute the Voice Your
                                                 Choice document
 9 May 2009             Southland Times          Advertisement of dates of public meetings
 14 May 2009            Southland Express        Advertisement of dates of public meetings
 15 May 2009            Southland Times –        “Choice Booklet” – letter from arch critic of
                        Letters to the Editor    Council congratulating the Council on the
                                                 way it has handled the production,
                                                 promotion and distribution of the booklet
                                                 Voice Your Choice and the public meetings
                                                 and lamenting poor attendance at meetings
 21 May 2009            Southland Times –        “People’s voice to council just a whisper” –
                        article                  journalist talking about the poor attendance
                                                 at the public meetings and noting remaining
                                                 meetings that people could attend
 5 June 2009            ICC Website              “Reminder: Last days for public feedback
                                                 on Representation Review (Phase One)”
 10 June 2009           Southland Times –        “By all means let’s engage” – includes
                        editorial                reference to the voter apathy evidenced by
                                                 poor response to the Voice for Choice
                                                 consultation

Radio

Council paid 60 second radio spots during entire month of May on Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits
and Coast. There was also a 20 minute interview on City Talk, Radio Southland, a
community radio station.

Television

Council talkback on Cue Television, 6 May 2009 featured an item on the Representation
Review.




                                                20
6.5    Public Discussion

The Public meetings were advertised separately in the news sections of The Southland
Times, The Southland Express and The Invercargill Eye. A large number of notices
advertising the meetings were also posted in shop windows in South and North Invercargill,
Otatara and Bluff for the meetings in those areas. Other Council publicity also referred to
the public meetings. In addition, the Invercargill Licensing Trust donated a meal voucher
prize for each public meeting and this information was included in all the notices.

Public meetings were held as follows:

      North Invercargill, Monday 11 May - Six attendees
      South Invercargill, Wednesday 13 May – 12 attendees
      Myross Bush, Wednesday 20 May – Two attendees
      Otatara, Monday 25 May – 11 attendees with as many apologies
      Bluff, Wednesday 27 May – 24 attendees

A Hui was held at Murihiku Marae on Wednesday 3 June. There were six attendees.

The same process was followed at each meeting. A 15 minute presentation summarising
the public discussion document was followed by discussion. Each group was asked the
same questions including the identification of communities of interest, the preferred system
of representation, their view of the need for community boards, the ideal number of
Councillors and finally, whether they thought, in light of everything, change was required.


6.6    Questionnaires
Residents were invited to complete questionnaires. These were included in the back of the
Discussion Document. They were also able to be completed on-line on the Council website,
and separate copies were handed out at the public meetings. Council received 51
completed questionnaires. An analysis of these is included in section 3.3 of this paper and a
summary of each individual response is included in Appendix 4. Copies of the completed
questionnaires are available on request.


6.7    Liaison with Local Government Commission
Regular discussions and consultations were held with staff at the Local Government
Commission and every aspect of the process was agreed with the Commission before being
put in place.




                                             21
22
PART C:        RESULTS



7.0    RESULTS

7.1    Public Meetings
Five public meetings and a Hui were held during May 2009. In the discussion following the
presentation, all groups were asked the same five questions. The results of these are
analysed in Table 1 below.


7.2    Questionnaires
Table 2 below provides a snapshot analysis of all questionnaires, and Table 3 provides a
summary by area. A full analysis of the questionnaires, by individual submitter, is included
as Appendix 4. Fifty-two questionnaires were received, of which 44 were valid for the district
as a whole.




                                             23
24
Table 1: Results of Public Meetings

ISSUE                         NORTH                                SOUTH                              MYROSS BUSH                       OTATARA                             BLUFF                             HUI
Are there communities of      Agreed on Bluff.                     South unique socio-economic        Identified themselves as          Definitely Otatara is a COI         Definitely Bluff is a COI. Some   The north/south split could be
interest (COI) in             On rest, some thought two –          issues. Most would think the       Myross Bush. Noted there is       because it is already distinct in   also felt it should qualify as    seen as separate COIs.
Invercargill?                 urban and semi-rural. Others         South is separate COI, south       an identified postal boundary     the District Plan. Also has         isolated under Local Electoral
                              not, on basis that semi rural        of Tay Street. Not easy to fit     around the area and they have     distinct ecological features.       Act.
                              people do 90% of their               all criteria of test, but COI is   common land use.                  Take simple view – are we a
                              business in Invercargill.            mainly on socio-economic and                                         community? Do we have
                              North/south split “just              ethnic grounds.                                                      something in common
                              perception” although                                                                                      /common interests? - The
                              acknowledged there were              Agreed Bluff and Otatara were                                        answer to both is yes.
                              more deprived, high need             COIs.                                                                Boundary is Oki Street, Bay
                              families in the south, and that                                                                           Road, Airport and Coopers
                              schooling was a concern                                                                                   Creek.
                              there.

Which system of               Some in favour of mixed              Both discussion groups             Liked the idea of wards, and      A mixed view. The majority          At-large, plus Bluff Community    Of the three who had a view,
representation do you         system because the cap on            favoured either wards or a         that each Councillor would        was in favour of at-large but       Board. Bluff does not get less    two favoured at-large, and one
prefer?                       spending would enable more           mixed system.                      represent the same number of      2-3 favoured a mixed system.        now than it did in 1989 when it   favoured a ward of 5 + 5
                              people to stand.                     Current system not effective       people/12 wards, each with a      Believed they currently had         was part of a ward as well as     because it would increase
                              Advantage of wards would be          representation.                    slice of the city.                access to Councillors, and          having a community board.         accountability.
                              candidates better known.                                                                                  there were two living in            Strong view that current
                              More likely to be elected if you     Might get new people being                                           Otatara. Under a ward based         system is working okay, and       A view that Maori are
                              live in the ward.                    elected if there were wards.                                         system they would probably          no need to fix it.                developing their own structure
                              Opposing view thought wards          Wards could provide true                                             have less Councillors living in                                       and working well with Council.
                              restricted choice and could          representation. Might also get                                       Otatara (although they
                              lead to a blinkered approach.        clinics.                                                             acknowledged that current                                             At-large gives a greater ability
                                                                   Some concern that wards                                              Otatara Councillors weren’t                                           to vote for a balanced picture
                                                                   could become divisive.                                               representing them as such).                                           (gender, skills etc) whereas
                                                                                                                                                                                                              with a ward vote, can’t see the
                                                                                                                                                                                                              whole.
Should there be community     Bluff would be justified, but it’s   Bluff is the only CB required.     Not much point in CBs if they     Substantial discussion on what      Strong “yes” to Bluff CB.         Strong support for Bluff.
boards (CB)?                  up to them to decide.                Instead of CBs we should           don’t have delegated authority.   advantages and
                              No others required.                  have Councillor clinics.                                             disadvantages there would be        One person had suggested
                                                                                                                                        in having a community board,        that the area of Omaui needed
                                                                   Bluff has the ear of Council, at                                     instead of the current              more attention, and possibly
                                                                   the expense of South                                                 Residents Association.              the community board should
                                                                   Invercargill.                                                        Wanted to know if a CB would        be divided into wards, to
                                                                                                                                        give them a stronger voice          enable Omaui to have specific
                                                                                                                                        with Council.                       representation. However,
                                                                                                                                        By setting up a Residents           strong consensus was that
                                                                                                                                        Association they had                Omaui had own group which
                                                                                                                                        demonstrated a strong interest      met with the community board
                                                                                                                                        in having a say. Don’t want to      and everyone was happy.
                                                                                                                                        be a tool of Council, but want
                                                                                                                                        to be a conduit of information.
                                                                                                                                        Say there is a lack of
                                                                                                                                        consultation at present and a
                                                                                                                                        more formal system or process
                                                                                                                                        is needed.
                                                                                                                                        Residents Association has to
                                                                                                                                        have funding though. Don’t
                                                                                                                                        want salaries, but need up to
                                                                                                                                        $5,000 pa for communication
                                                                                                                                        and meeting costs. Discussed
                                                                                                                                        funding options including a
                                                                                                                                        targeted rate of $5 or Council
                                                                                                                                        grant.



                                                                                                                         25
ISSUE                      NORTH                               SOUTH                            MYROSS BUSH                      OTATARA                            BLUFF         HUI
How many Councillors       Views expressed were                Most favoured the status quo     Status quo of 12.                As is – 12 Councillors.            Status quo.   10 would be okay/adequate
should there be?           between 8 and 12 Councillors.       and to keep the Council                                                                                            but maximum of 12.
                           One extreme was 8                   committee structure.
                           Councillors, focused solely on
                           policy, full time, meeting every    One or two favoured 10
                           3 weeks and no committee            Councillors in a mixed system
                           structure.                          of 5 from Wards and 5
                           Comments about whether              at-large.
                           Councillors should have
                           directorships on Council
                           owned companies/whether
                           they had the right skills to do
                           so.
Is change needed?          Status quo fine if no               Yes. Wards or a Mixed            Why change the system if it is   Agreed they would rather have      No.           No.
                           community boards.                   system.                          working, albeit an               a community board than
                                                                                                acknowledgement that while       nothing, but prefer an
                           One person wanted mixed,                                             some had no trouble              alternative to a CB if it can be
                           others seemed to be in favour                                        approaching Councillors if       funded. The change required
                           of the status quo.                                                   necessary, others would find     to the current representation
                                                                                                addressing Council difficult.    system is some sort of
                                                                                                                                 community representation. In
                                                                                                                                 addition, at least two people
                                                                                                                                 preferred a mixed system of
                                                                                                                                 electing Councillors while the
                                                                                                                                 majority preferred the status
                                                                                                                                 quo.
Other comments or issues   There is a need for better          South City issues still not
raised                     communication between local         addressed following 2005
                           authorities and the DHB. All        public meetings.
                           governance bodies should be         Need youth and child friendly,
                           working together for the            safe spaces in south
                           well-being of the community.        Invercargill, and a youth
                                                               drop-in place.
                           Dog problem. Complaint
                           about why there had been no
                           consultation before a proposal
                           for a new dog pound costing
                           $0.5 million solution was
                           announced.

                           Request for random listing of
                           candidates on voting paper.
                           Also mentioned were the STV
                           voting system, an extended
                           Council term of 4 years, and
                           limit of tenure of Councillors to
                           two terms




                                                                                                                    26
Table 2: Snapshot of All Questionnaire Results


 COMMUNITIES OF                    TOP CONTENDERS                        COMMUNITY                                ELECTION SYSTEM               NUMBER OF                   COMMENTS
  INTEREST                                                               BOARDS                                                                COUNCILLORS

 84%* said there are             Bluff          21/37 (57%)              59% voted for at least                   At-large    48%              Status Quo   73%             22 forms included suggestions for
 at least some                   Otatara        18/37 (49%)              one community board                      Mixed       36%              Less         18%             others ways Council could
 Communities of                  South          14/37 (38%)                                                       Wards       16%              More         9%              communicate with communities.
 Interest                        Rural          10/37 (27%)              If you take out those that                                                                         Broadly these included:
 * 37 respondents                                                        said “only Bluff”, this reduces                                                                    - community type meetings (15)
                                                                         to 41%                                                                                             - meetings with Councillors (4)
                                                                                                                                                                            - referenda (2)
                                                                                                                                                                            - surveys/questionnaires (4)
                                                                                                                                                                            - Cue TV and local radio (1)


Table 3: Summary of Questionnaire Results by Area

                                       COMMUNITIES OF
                         TOTAL                                        WHICH COIs                           WHICH ELECTION SYSTEM?        NUMBER OF COUNCILLORS           COMMUNITY BOARDS             WHICH COMMUNITY
AREA                                      INTEREST?
                       RESPONSES                                     Number of votes                                                                                                                      BOARDS?
                                       YES        NO                                                       A/L        MIXED    WARDS    SAME         LESS         MORE     YES           NO
SOUTH                     13            9           4         Bluff                        3                5           4        4       10            2           1        7             6        Bluff                5
                                                              Otatara                      4                                                                                                       Otatara              3
                                                              South Invercargill           7                                                                                                       South Invercargill   2
                                                              Rural                        2                                                                                                       Waikiwi              1
                                                              Other                        4
OTATARA                   11               11          0      Bluff                        9               7            2           2    8             2           1        9             2        Bluff                6
                                                              Otatara                     10                                                                                                       Otatara              8
                                                              South Invercargill           2                                                                                                       Rural                2
                                                              Rural                        4                                                                                                       South Invercargill   1
                                                              Myross Bush                  3                                                                                                       Myross Bush          1
                                                              Other                        3
NORTH                     12               9           3      Bluff                        6               4            8           0    8             3           1        6             6        Bluff                3
                                                              Otatara                      2                                                                                                       Otatara              1
                                                              South Invercargill           2                                                                                                       South                1
                                                              Rural                        3                                                                                                       North                1
                                                              Myross Bush                  1                                                                                                       West                 1
                                                              Other                        4                                                                                                       Myross Bush          1
MYROSS BUSH                3               3           0      N/A                                          0            2           1    2             0           1        1             2        None specified

BLUFF                      3               3           0      Bluff                        2               3            0           0    3             0           0        3             0        Bluff                2
                                                              Otatara                      1                                                                                                       Otatara              1
                                                              South Invercargill           2
                                                              Rural                        1
                                                              Other                        1
ANON/CITY WIDE             2               2           0      Bluff                        1               2            0           0    1             1           0        0             2        N/A
                                                              Otatara                      1
                                                              South City                   1
                                                              Other                        1
TOTAL                     44               37          7      Bluff                      21                21          16           7    32            8           4        26           18        Of those that said
                                                              Otatara                    18                                                                                                        “yes”, 8 were on the
                                                              South Invercargill         14                                                                                                        basis that it was for
                                                              Rural                      10                                                                                                        Bluff only.
                                                              Myross Bush                 4




                                                                                                                 27
28
7.3    Summary of Panel and Public Views

7.3.1 Communities of Interest

In the Panel’s view, based on the criteria it adopted, which are shown in Table 4 below, Bluff
was clearly a community of interest. The Panel initially believed that there could also be
others that might meet the test, for example, Rural farming, South Invercargill and the
Otatara Peninsula. However, after further consideration and following the public discussion
phase, the Panel has decided that only Bluff meets the threshold required for Communities of
Interest for the purposes of the Local Electoral Act. In deciding this, the Panel acknowledges
that the threshold required under the Act is a high one, and that this does not detract from
the view of residents who consider the areas in which they live to be communities of interest.

In the public meetings, the most notable result was that those at meetings in the South,
Otatara and Bluff were strongly of the view that their own area was a community of interest.
The Hui thought there was a north/south split, and there was not much consensus in the
North with the exception of agreeing that Bluff was a community of interest.

In the questionnaires, respondents overall were most likely to decide there was a COI in the
area in which they themselves lived. Bluff however was well supported across the board. By
area, almost all those who responded from Otatara believed they were a separate
community of interest, over half those in the South thought they were, and in the North, 50%
thought Bluff was a separate COI and 25% also voted for rural as a COI. There were only
three responses from Bluff but they gave equal votes for both Bluff and South Invercargill as
separate COIs.

Taking the information from the public meetings and questionnaires, it would seem that
there is a moderate to strong view that Bluff, Otatara and South Invercargill are separate
communities of interest. However, this does not necessarily imply that any change would be
required in the system of representation as this depends on an assessment of whether those
communities are effectively represented under the current system.


7.3.2 The Preferred System of Representation

From the public meetings, the consensus in the South was that the current system was not
effective representation and their preference was for either wards or a mixed system.
However in both the Otatara and Bluff meetings, there was a strong majority for the at-large
system. Mainly this seemed to be because Bluff had their community board and so felt they
had the additional representation they required, and Otatara felt they had the means to talk
directly to Councillors and that in any case, two of the current 12 Councillors live in Otatara.
There was not a consensus in the North, and in Myross Bush no clear opinion was
expressed. Of those who expressed a view at the Hui, two favoured an at-large system and
one favoured a ward system.

From the questionnaires, the at-large system did not win a majority of support (48% overall
in favour of at-large). If the results are taken from North and South Invercargill only, which
represented 68% of the total response and the majority of the population, 12 out of 25
favoured a mixed system, nine favoured at-large and four favoured a ward system.

The biggest support for an at-large system came from Otatara (seven out of 12) and Bluff
(three out of three).




                                              29
   Table 4: Panel Assessment of Possible Communities of Interest

                                                                                                                    Demographic
                                                                                                                      or socio-     Particular ethnic
                                     History
                                                                                        Shared and    Number          economic       groups and/or
                                  contributed    Distinct                  Strong
                                                               Distinct                   unique     and type of     similarities        cultural       Total
                                   to current    physical                  specific
                                                              land use                   economic    community      that may neg.    significance is     Pts
                                    sense of     borders                    issues
                                                                                          activity    services          impact      quite defining of
                                  community
                                                                                                                       effective       community
                                                                                                                   representation
Bluff                                 √             √            √             √            √            √                 ⁄                ⁄            7

Otatara                               ―             √             ⁄            √            ―             ⁄             ―                  ―             3

Rural Lifestyle                       ―             √            √             ⁄            ―            ―              ―                  ―             2.5

Rural                                 ―             √            √             √            √            ―              ―                  ―             4.0

Windsor, Gladstone, Rosedale          ―             ―            ―            ―             ―            √              ―                  ―             1.0

Glengarry, Ascot,                     ―             ―            ―             ⁄            ―             ⁄              ⁄                  ⁄            2.0
Hawthorndale. Newfield
Rockdale
Heidelberg
Clifton, Kew                          ―              ⁄           ―             √            ―            √               √                  ⁄            4.0
Strathern,
Crinan
East Waikiwi                          ―              ⁄           ―            ―             ―            ―               ⁄                 ―             1.0


CBD                                   ―              ⁄           ―             ⁄            ―            ―              ―                  ―             1.0
Residents only

   Key:     Yes √ = 1.0 points:       Mixed ⁄ = 0.5 points:   No ― = 0    points




                                                                                   30
7.3.3 Total Number of Councillors

At the public meetings and the Hui, there was strong support to retain the current number
of Councillors and the questionnaires showed a similar response.


7.3.4 Community Boards

Bluff was once again a clear winner. In addition, Otatara questionnaire respondents were
strongly in favour of a community board. At the public meeting in Otatara, the view was that
they would much prefer to have their current Residents Association, provided they could get
the level of funding they required for it to operate (about $5,000 pa). There was almost no
support for a community board among South Invercargill respondents.

7.3.5 Is Change Needed?

This question was only asked in the public meetings.

The North was of the view that change was not needed (with one exception that wanted a
mixed system for elections). Myross Bush and Bluff also thought that overall, no change was
needed. In Otatara, the change they wanted was in the area of community representation –
either funding for their existing Residents Association as first choice, or failing this, a
community board. In the South, there was strong consensus that change was needed,
focused on the system of election, with a change to either wards or mixed. The Hui believed
that no change was needed.

7.3.6 Other Ways for the Council to Engage with Communities

The majority of questionnaire respondents answered this question (60%), and there was a
good consensus amongst all areas that the most preferred means of increased engagement
between Council and the community would be some form of “face to face” interaction.




                                             31
32
PART D:         DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS



8.0       DISCUSSION

8.1       National Situation – Representation Systems and Community Boards

Nationally, there are eight District Councils and five City Councils which elect all or some of
their members at-large. The remaining 60 City or District Councils elect members entirely on
a ward based system.

 District Councils        City Councils         District Councils     City Councils
     At Large               At Large             Mixed System         Mixed System
 Kaikoura, Kawerau,     Invercargill            Kapiti              Napier
 Chatham Islands,       Nelson                  Masterton           Tauranga
 Wairoa, Wanganui       Upper Hutt City         Gore


Comparing Invercargill’s population, area and representation system with other small cities:

 Small City           Population      Area       Number of      Representation System
                        (2006        square      Councillors
                       Census)         kms
                                      (Dept
                                     Stats)
 Tauranga               103,632           168          10       3 Wards – 3 members
                                                                At large – 7 members
                                                                No community boards
 Hutt City               97,701           377          12       6 Wards – 12 members
                                                                3 community boards and
                                                                2 community committees
 Palmerston              75,543           335          15       5 Wards – 15 members
 North                                                          No community boards but
                                                                have active ward committees
 Napier                  57,200           106          12       4 Wards – 6 members
                                                                At large – 6 members
                                                                No community boards
 Invercargill            50,328           491          12       At large – 12 members
                                                                1 community board
 Porirua                 50,300           182          13       3 Wards – 13 members
                                                                No community boards
 Nelson                  42,891           443          12       At large – 12 members
                                                                2 community boards
 Upper Hutt City         38,415           540          10       At large
                                                                No community boards




                                                 33
Comparing Invercargill’s population, area and representation system with some of the
smaller District Councils:

    Small City         Population     Area      Number of       Representation System
                         (2006       square     Councillors
                        Census)        kms
                                      (Dept
                                     Stats)
    Rotorua District     68,100       2,615          12         4 Wards (3 members/ward)
    Council                                                     1 Community Board

    Whangarei            74,500       2,700          13         6 Wards of between         1   and     4
    District Council                                            Councillors
                                                                No Community Boards

    New Plymouth         68,901       2,234          14         3 Wards with 2, 2 and 10 Councillors
    District Council                                            4 Community Boards

    Wanganui             43,380       2,405          13         At-large.
    District Council                                            1 Community Board divided into three
                                                                subdivisions




8.2        Recent Decisions of the Local Government Commission

8.2.1 General

Since Invercargill City Council’s earlier review in 2003, the membership of the Local
Government Commission has changed and the following observations can be made about
the 2007 round of appeal decisions:

          A tendency to decide on a higher rather than a lower number of Councillors.
          No particular trend in relation to community boards, which are considered very much
           as part of the overall mix which also includes at-large, wards and ward committees 4
           in providing effective representation.
          A greater emphasis on socio-economic factors and whether groupings of low
           socio-economic residents are being adequately and effectively represented.
          No greater weight given to the opinion of Council over that of the objectors. 5




4
  Although the Commission notes, in its decision on Palmerston North, that it has no jurisdiction to
mandate the establishment or continuation of ward committees, it said it was unable to completely
remove consideration of ward committees from its wider consideration of the City’s representation
arrangements. In light of this and “Palmerston North’s strong and effective ward committees, which
provided an effective opportunity for face to face contact between residents and elected members”,
the Commission decided that the establishment of community boards in the city was not warranted
5
   Mike Reid of LGNZ advises that the Commission is seeking to change this and a recent review of
the LEA recommended that Council decisions be given greater weight by the Commission. There is
no timetable however for this change to take place.


                                                34
Two of the three current Commission members, including the Chair, Sue Piper, were recently
reappointed for a further three year term and so it is probably reasonable to assume that
Commission decisions in the near future will follow a similar line to those in the recent past.
In particular, the decisions of the Commission in regard to Palmerston North and Napier may
have implications for Invercargill. In those decisions (respectively 2006 and 2007) the
Commission stressed that residents’ engagement with their community, and effective
mechanisms for engagement between communities and the Council are fundamental to the
purpose of local government. Disparities in socio-economic status were regarded as
perhaps the most important factor in impacting the existence and effectiveness of that
engagement and whether separate ward representation was therefore required. The
Commission also made the point that identifying with the district as a whole did not preclude
establishing the necessary identification with one’s suburb or “community of interest”.

The Commission said that while the city’s electoral framework was the principal safeguard for
ensuring effective representation for communities of interest, it also took into account the
influence of Council structures and processes in providing representation, for example, its
relationships with organisations and community groups and its ward committees.


8.2.2 Napier Decision

Napier had had an at-large system of election since 1998, and prior to that had been divided
into three wards. In their 2006 review, the Council decided to retain the at-large system, and
not to have any community boards. The objectors argued that an at-large system did not
provide effective representation for Napier’s communities of interest. They argued that there
were “two Napiers” one of which had significant numbers of socially and economically
deprived people (over half of the residents lived in deciles six to ten, with ten being the
highest level of deprivation). 6 Furthermore, the objectors said that only three members
(23%) of the Council lived in this deprived portion of the city.

The Commission agreed with the objectors and said it “was not persuaded by the Council’s
argument that Napier is one geographic community of interest” and that they believed that “a
form of ward system would enhance the effectiveness of representation of communities of
interest in Napier”. The decision of the Commission was that Napier would have four wards,
two of which would elect one representative each, and two electing two representatives. The
other six Councillors would be elected at-large.


8.2.3 Palmerston North Decision

Prior to conducting its review in 2006 the Council comprised 15 Councillors and all were
elected by wards. There were strong ward committees in all but one area, and no
community boards. As a result of the review, the Council decided to reduce the number of
Councillors to 14 and for all of them to be elected at-large, with one community board to be
established.

The Commission considered various aspects in relation to the communities of interest
question and concluded that many of them would also identify with their local community as
well as the City as a whole. The Commission also noted that many of the objectors
expressed concern at the impact of socio-economic disparity on effective representation of


6
  The New Zealand Atlas (or Index) of Socio-economic deprivation, from which this decile information
is taken, is explained, and discussed in relation to Invercargill in the paper, “A demographic profile of
Invercargill Territorial Authority”.


                                                   35
communities of interest within the central urban area. In relation to this the Commission said
that “socio-economic disparity is an important matter to consider for two reasons:

     Lower socio-economic areas face different pressures, and have different interests and
      concerns than areas of greater general affluence; and
     Specific councillor representation for such areas enhances the council’s capacity to
      understand and respond to these differences.”

The Commission noted that while the Council held bi-annual ward forums, the Takaro ward,
which comprised the most socio-economically deprived population, was the only ward in the
city that did not have an active formal ward committee. The Council was therefore
compromised, according to the Commission, in its ability to provide effective representation
for the Takaro community. The decision of the Commission was that Palmerston North
would retain an entirely ward based system.


8.3     Invercargill

As seen above, Invercargill City Council is one of only three city councils that elects its
members at-large. The question that the review needs to ask is whether this continues to
provide effective representation for the communities of interest within the Invercargill
Territorial Authority.


8.3.1 Mechanisms for Community Engagement

In determining whether there is effective representation, the Commission tries to gain an
overall picture of council engagement with the community and will take into account the
formal and informal mechanisms that a council has in place. In Invercargill these
mechanisms include:

       One Community board – Bluff.
       One Residents’ group – Otatara
       Two Advisory Committees or Groups 7 - Youth Council and Community Services
        Safer Invercargill Subcommittee.

Other ways in which the council obtains community views on an ongoing basis 8 include the
ability of the public to address Council Committee meetings, information given directly to
Councillors and staff via phone calls; letters and emails to the Council and the Councillors’
monthly talkback Panel on CUE television. In respect of Maori, a formal consultation
structure is maintained with other Southland Councils to ensure Maori contribution to the
decision-making process.

In summary, Invercargill has very little in the way of differentiated representation at the level
below the district as a whole, particularly mechanisms which are geographically based.



7
  There are also three committees that are called Advisory Committees, but their role is confined to
advising on the distribution of central government funds in their areas. They are respectively, Active
Communities, Creative Communities and Southland Heritage. An informal arrangement also exists
with the Disability Council and from time to time, reference groups are established for one-off projects.
8
  For specific issues, or as required by law, the Council invites formal submissions and may in addition
use additional methods for seeking pubic input and views, for example, a barbecue in a local park
when the council wanted input from residents about proposed redevelopment plans


                                                   36
8.3.2 Socio-Economic Data

In socio-economic terms, as measured by the overall Index of Socio-Economic Deprivation,
which is the data source that has been used by the Commission, Invercargill exhibits a
general pattern of advantage/disadvantage that correlates to the north/south areas of the
city. These rankings are shown on the map below.




                                           37
Socio-economic rankings by mesh block




                 38
9.0   CONCLUSIONS

9.1   The Public View

1.    The level of responses, via questionnaire and attendance at the public meetings, was
      disappointingly low, representing only a small fraction of the Invercargill Territorial
      Area population. Given the efforts made by the Panel to publicise the review and
      distribute the Public Discussion Document, the low participation rate can itself be
      taken as an indicator that there is not a large groundswell for change. In any case,
      the Panel can only take into account the views it has before it in assessing public
      opinion.

2     Despite the low number of responses, there was however a reasonably high level of
      uniformity in the views expressed when these are broken down by area.

3.    While people tended to think that the area in which they lived, at least, was a
      community of interest, this did not necessarily translate into wanting any change in
      their form of representation (with the exception of Otatara and South Invercargill, as
      noted below).

4.    There was clear support across the district for Bluff as a Community of Interest and
      for the retention of the Bluff Community Board.

5.    As well, the members of the Bluff community who attended the public meeting and/or
      completed the section of the questionnaire relating to their views of the Bluff
      Community Board all said they were entirely satisfied with their Board and its
      boundaries. They were also satisfied with the status quo in general.

6.    A high percentage of respondents from North Invercargill favoured the status quo.
      Many supported Bluff as a separate community of interest.           Questionnaire
      respondents however showed a preference for a mixed system of representation with
      eight preferring mixed, four preferring at-large and no votes for an entirely ward
      system.

7.    Myross Bush appeared to favour the status quo in terms of number of Councillors and
      community boards, but to favour either a mixed or ward system of representation
      rather than at-large.

8.    The view from the Hui was in favour of at-large and the status quo.

9.    Otatara residents were strongly of the view they are a community of interest and that
      they want more voice and more consultation. At the public meeting, their preference
      was a Residents Association if it can be funded via a grant or targeted rate. Failing
      this, they would consider the option of a Community Board. A high majority was
      happy with the at-large system of election.

10.   The majority of South Invercargill residents thought they were not receiving effective
      representation under the current system. The preferred change was in the system of
      election to either mixed or wards, and there was little interest in a community board.

11.   A majority of all respondents wanted some additional engagement with Council, and
      there was a high degree of consensus in preferring this to be “face to face”
      interaction.     The most commonly mentioned means were clinics and
      community-based meetings.



                                            39
9.2   Invercargill Situation

12.   Invercargill City Council has limited means of community engagement below that of
      the district as a whole, particularly as regards geographically based communities. On
      the other hand, in decisions in the last round of Representation Review Appeals, the
      Commission has said that it believes that effective mechanisms for engagement
      between the communities and the Council are fundamental to the purpose of local
      government. It has also regarded disparities in socio-economic status as the most
      important factor in impacting the existence and effectiveness of that engagement.

13.   Invercargill has patterns of socio-economic disadvantage which show a general
      correlation to a north/south pattern.

14.   Based on those recent decisions, the Commission could take the view that:

      (a)     South Invercargill is under-represented at Councillor level, is an area that is
              generally of greater socio-economic disadvantage and, while not responding
              in large numbers, did show a high level of consistency in being unhappy with
              the current system and in wanting a change in the system of representation.
              In these circumstances, the Commission might feel that some form of ward or
              mixed system is required.

      (b)     Otatara merits a form of community representation.

      (c)     Bluff is a community of interest and merits the continuation of the current
              community board unchanged as to boundaries and the number of members.

      (d)     There are no grounds for change in Myross Bush or among the rural
              community, or in the northern urban area of Invercargill.


9.3   The Panel View

15.   The Panel recognises:

      (i)     The interest that was shown in a mixed system of representation by
              respondents across the board.        If these results are taken from the
              questionnaires returned by North and South Invercargill only, an area which
              includes the majority of the population, and which represented 68% of the
              total responses, 12 out of 25 favoured a mixed system, nine favoured at-large
              and four favoured a ward system.

      (ii)    That respondents from Otatara and South Invercargill were unhappy with the
              current system.

      (iii)   That the majority of questionnaire respondents wanted alternative or
              additional means of community engagement with Council.




                                             40
16.   However, the Panel also notes:

      (i)     The equality of access that was provided to all residents to participate in the
              Review.

      (ii)    The very low response rate in terms of attendance at the public meetings and
              the questionnaires and the difficulty in using these results as the basis for
              fundamental change.

      (iii)   The overall desire to retain the status quo expressed by the majority of
              participants at the public meetings.

      (iv)    The difficulty in finding a sensible geographic division for wards or a mixed
              system that is just for everyone and does not result in significantly less
              representation for some.

      (v)     The strong community of interest at a district-wide level.

      (vi)    That the community issues identified may be better resolved by means other
              than wards.

      (vii)   That non Local electoral Act solutions will provide greater flexibility and would
              allow Councillors to work in the community to their strengths.

17.   The Panel believes that only Bluff meets the criteria for a separate community of
      interest as defined by the Local Electoral Act 2001.

18.   It also believes that effective representation for Bluff is provided by the existing
      Community Board and agrees with its continuance and its membership and
      boundaries as currently defined.

19.   The Panel believes that the status quo could prevail with an         at-large system of
      representation, the same number of Councillors and the Bluff         Community Board.
      However, in addition to and outside the remedies provided by the     Local Electoral Act,
      the Panel believes that additional means of geographically            based community
      engagement are needed. These could be:

      (i)     A programme of Councillor Clinics by area.
      (ii)    A regular programme of community area meetings.
      (iii)   The development of a policy to provide basic support to residents groups
              which meet defined criteria.




                                              41
42
                                     APPENDICES



The appendices are available on request to the Council. They are also available on-line at
the Council website: www.icc.govt.nz




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