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2. Do you support the Council's initial proposal for representation arrangements for 2019?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
Please tell us why
When elected councillors vote (or should) for Hamilton as a whole not by ward. Rhetoric by some councillors (and candidates) clearly reveals an east-west divide. In 2011 – 2012 Hamilton City Council reviewed its representation arrangements for the 2013 local authority triennial elections. There was a move to dispense with wards and have ‘at large’ voting. The theory was that the city’s suburbs are fairly homogeneous and remains so in 2018. Sixty submissions ultimately swayed councillors to stay with two wards. It was believed that some were acting out of self-interest. It’s more expensive to campaign across 107 sq km if you’re not well known. It’s cheaper to roll out billboards on only one side of the Waikato River. The ward system dilutes the democratic process, even in the current two ward system there is usually better candidates in the other ward rather than in the voters’ ward. Hamilton councillors were elected ‘at large’ about 30 years ago. But there were complaints that many of the councillors lived in expensive houses on River Road and weren’t ‘in touch’ (no different today) with what was happening in other suburbs. So the city was split into five wards. When Cr Pippa Mahood retired from the council in 2013, she noted that she had been shoulder-tapped to stand for the council 27 years earlier when there was a shortage of community leaders in her new small ward. The number of wards was later reduced to three, before the south ward was dropped to mirror Hamilton’s parliamentary electorates. The 2018 representation review Council assessed six (6) options, recommending the status quo OPTION 1 – status quo: • the Hamilton City Council comprises 12 councillors elected under the ward system, plus the mayor elected ‘at large’ • the Hamilton City Council is divided into two wards, consisting of the following communities of interest: • East Ward (represented by six councillors), comprising the area to the east of the Waikato River (i.e. the current East Ward); • West Ward (represented by six councillors), comprising the area to the west of the Waikato River (i.e. the current West Ward). • no community boards are established as: OPTION 2 – no wards (‘at large’), retain 12 councillors, no community boards: • the Hamilton City Council comprises 12 councillors, plus the mayor; • the mayor and all councillors are elected by electors city-wide (‘at large’), • no community boards are established as effective representation would not be enhanced • the reason for the change to electing councillors ‘at large’ rather than through a ward system is to provide effective representation to Hamilton electors, reflecting the city has a relatively compact geographic area and that Hamilton’s communities of interest are not geographically distinct, rather they are spread across the city; 16 August 2018 Council decided on an initial proposal for the city’s representation arrangements. The initial proposal would retain the existing two-ward structure for the 2019 election, which is 12 councillors across the two wards (East and West) separated by the Waikato River, with the Mayor elected ‘at large’ by all voters across the city The rhetoric during debate was imaginative, bordering on fairy tales with some councillors more concerned about the cost of campaigning rather than better representation - identified in the surveys, e.g. often the most preferred candidates are standing in the other ward “At large system creates more barriers” (for candidates) At-large make it harder for people who haven’t much money to get on Council and denying fair representation, At-large insinuates White middle class well off face that are generally around this table” All imaginative, bordering on fairy tales. The reasons for an ‘At Large’ system are as follows: • Hamilton does not have clearly defined and identifiable communities of interest. • People tend to traverse the whole city in their day-to-day lives. • Better choice of councillors - (bigger/better pool of quality candidates) • The rates we pay are spent all over the city – therefore it is appropriate for all residents and ratepayers to have a say on all the councillors as they represent the whole city. • All councillors should (and are legally required to) represent all ratepayers – which does not warrant a ward system. • Often the most preferred candidates are standing in the other ward – an ‘at large’ system means voters can choose their most preferred councillors. 33.6% of enrolled voters actually voted – current council were elected by a minority Recommendation It is recommended that Council adopt ‘At Large’ (No Wards) system for electing councillors.

3. The Council will hear verbal submissions on Tuesday 9 October 2018. Do you want to speak about your submission at this meeting?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No