Have your say on council next month - or else
Will you have your say on how councillors are elected?
Those wanting to have their say on how councillors are elected to the Timaru District Council at next year's election must wait until next month to officially voice their views.
And if you do not have your say then, there is no guarantee you will be able to take the matter further if you don't like the council's final option.
This month the council voted 6-5 in favour of electing 10 councillors "at large", meaning all residents would have the chance to vote for all 10 councillors rather than the present system, under which residents vote for those standing in the ward where they live.
Although the Herald's letters column has attracted a range of views since the council came out in support of the at-large option, the official consultation period starts once the proposal is formally notified on September 8, via the council's noticeboard in the Herald.
The month-long consultation period then runs through till October 8, electoral officer Mark Low said.
The council will make a final decision incorporating community board feedback at its September 4 meeting. Once the public consultation period closes, the council is expected to hear the submissions before confirming its final proposal.
It is not bound by any decisions it has made so far, and in theory could come up with a totally different option to the 10-at-large proposal.
That proposal is then publicly advertised with there being a further one-month period in which an appeal against the decision can be lodged with the Local Government Commission.
Just who can appeal depends on the council's final option.
If it goes with the 10-at-large option it has already consulted on, then only those who have made submissions can appeal, Mr Low said.
Alternatively, if after the month-long consultation and hearing the submissions, the council opts for other than the at-large option, anyone can object to the commission.
If the matter ends up before the commission, it will decide on the form of representation for next year's election and does not need to consult the council or the public before making the decision.
The Local Electoral Act states: the "commission may make any inquiries it considers appropriate”, or “hold, but is not obliged to hold, meetings with the territorial authority . . . or any persons who have lodged an appeal or objection and have indicated a desire to be heard.”
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should the Star Trust GM be able to attend Timaru's meeting on synthetic cannabis?Related story: 'Legal, but it's not safe'