Appeals lodged over council ward proposal

PAUL O'ROURKE
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2012
janya lobb
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ
Janya Lobb

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Two appeals have been lodged over the Timaru District Council's proposal to have nine councillors elected by wards at next year's local body elections.

The challenges have been lodged with the Local Government Commission by Janya Lobb, of Timaru, and Russell Scobie, of Winchester, and follow months of public consultation that drew 800 submissions.

Mrs Lobb was also a member of the advisory committee that came up with options for the council to consider.

She said yesterday her main concern now was about fairness in representation and that with only nine councillors each would be required to represent nearly 5000 people.

Mrs Lobb said she favoured a council made up of nine councillors elected by ward and three at large. She said the Timaru district was unique for the South Island in that it comprised an airport and shipping port, large manufacturers and industries such as Clandeboye, and physically covered a large area.

"The other places with airports and ports such as Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill were all cities and did not have the wide hinterland that we have." She said the only one that was about the same size as Timaru was Tasman District, which had 14 councillors.

"I did not make the decision to appeal without considerable reflection on the whole process to date and then only did so in the interests of fair representation for the district's ratepayers," Mrs Lobb said.

Mr Scobie could not be contacted but in an earlier submission wanted five rural councillors and five from the town.

Councils are required to hold a representation review every six years to determine how many elected councillors there should be and how they represent the district. The commission indicated it would hear the appeals in March.

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- The Timaru Herald

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