Panelist likes freer option

A member of the panel that advised the Timaru District Council on possible voting options for next year's election has now come out in favour of councillors being elected at large.

Earlier this month the council opted 6-5 to go with the 10 councillors at large option for the next stage of public consultation. The five councillors opposing the move wanted the present ward system retained, although, because of population changes, the number of councillors in the Timaru ward would have reduced from seven to six.

The council must review representation every six years and, as part of this year's review, it set up an advisory panel of seven, including Mayor Janie Annear and Cr Jo Taylor.

Timaru woman Janya Lobb was one of the five members selected from public nominations. She now believes she was remiss to agree to the panel so quickly dismissing the at large option.

"Our meetings were few, our time constrained, our three options (to council), without favour, resultingly bland.

"I welcome the debate the 10-at-large option voted by the council is creating. What's more, on extensive reflection, I was clearly remiss to agree to dismiss this option so quickly in the deliberations.

"It can be viewed simply on a representation argument. If all the councillors represent all the population when elected, then it is only fair that all the population should have an equal say in who all those councillors are.

"The community's interests are preserved in the community boards, which should be allowed to have some true delegated authorities."

The Timaru Herald