by Geoffrey Churchman

Given the present Lockdown, this will need to take place via Zoom. The discussion will cover the issue of both the Community Boards and the wards for Councilors — at present 5 Councilors are elected district-wide and 5 are elected from 4 wards — Otaki (1), Waikanae (1), Paraparaumu (2) and Paekakariki-Raumati (1).

There is a problem with the allowed variation in the number of constituents per ward with Otaki being overrepresented at present and Waikanae underrepresented. The solution the management has come up with is to reduce the 4 wards into 3, but retaining the 5 + 5 wards/districtwide mix. The wards also get renamed: North (1 Councilor), Central (3) and South (1).

The council meeting Agenda contains information on all this over pages 6-30 on this pdf.

Arguments for getting rid of the Community Boards are in this extract:

Just over a year ago I wrote this piece about how Localism in Kapiti had been stymied by the present Mayor and pointed out that the fettering of the Community Boards by him, with the active backing of CEO Mr Maxwell, had largely (but not completely) voided any useful function they could have.

It’s no surprise then that they now want to abolish them completely.

Having been a Community Board member myself, I feel that unless they are given more powers than simply deciding on awarding discretionary grants, usually quite small, to applicants, and deciding on names for new streets from a choice of 3 that iwi and developers come up with, there isn’t a whole lot of point in their existance.

However, abolishing 16 elected positions throughout Kapiti would mean that the Councilors would have extra duties/workload and would need to work longer hours — probably making their status full time — and more diligently. That would mean no part-time councillors (like the present Waikanae ward councilor and her predessor). It would also mean that they would need to be very astute people. In turn, the pay would have to reflect both. You can’t expect high calibre people to take a big pay drop from their existing jobs, just from desire for community service.

Whatever the council decides, it will then then go out for consultation and the Council will then be required to resolve a final proposal no later than 11 November 2021, which will automatically be referred to the Local Government
Commission if appeals or objections are received or if the proposal does not comply with legislative requirements around “fair representation.”