Better representation for communities?
Dargaville & Districts
Proposed boundary changes for Northland Regional Council constituencies could be good news for Kaipara.
For more than 20 years the council has adopted the three district council boundaries as regional council constituency areas, and a draft proposal suggests a new eight constituency model.
This will increase the total number of councillors to nine but the salary pool will be spread out rather than increased.
Councillor for the Kaipara constituency Graeme Ramsey says the change will provide more effective representation for communities like Dargaville, Ruawai and Mangawhai.
"The point is to put together communities that have the same characteristics and are facing the same issues - that improves the democracy - you're getting a better representative voice at the council table, where decisions are made."
The new boundaries move Mangawhai out of Kaipara and into the Coastal South constituency, which Mr Ramsey says makes more sense.
"You've got the communities west of State Highway 1 that have a lot in common and then you've got Mangawhai that has more in common with settlements on the east coast south of Whangarei."
But Mangawhai Residents and Ratepayers Association chair Bruce Rogan says the costs will outweigh the benefits.
"While the salary pool is going to stay the same the total individual costs for councillors will increase and I'm not quite sure what the benefits will be."
Public submissions are open until October 1 and Mr Ramsey says people need to ask themselves first if this proposal is going to be an improvement and if so, look at ways to improve it.
"I think there are two main questions people in the Kaipara should be asking themselves: should Kaihu and Aranga be in the Kaipara or Hokianga constituency [as proposed] and should Kaiwaka and Waipu be in the Kaipara or South Coast constituency [as proposed]?"
The main reasons these areas have been taken out of Kaipara is to balance the population size in each ward, he says.
With one councillor for each of the three wards, the population range must be between 15,820 and 19,336.
Under the proposed new boundaries Kaipara's population will be 16,338, Coastal South will be 18,089 and Hokianga-Kaikohe will be 15,837.
- © Fairfax NZ News