A More Logical Solution to the Councillor vs Population Argument

Streamline

I see Auckland Council is wanting a law review in how many Councillors can be elected due to population pressures.

From Stuff:

Auckland may get more politicians under council bid for law change

MARIA SLADE Last updated 06:28, July 30 2015

The country’s largest city could end up with more local politicians, if a bid by Auckland Council for a law change is successful.

Auckland is the only local authority in New Zealand which can’t increase its number of councillors, despite population growth.

The legislation which set up the Super City five years ago capped the number of elected representatives at 20 plus the mayor.

But Auckland’s burgeoning population means areas such as the central city Waitemata ward are already outgrowing their representative limits, which aim to have all wards having about the same number of residents.

At the last census in 2013 there was one Auckland city councillor to around 75,000 residents.

By 2033 the representation will be one councillor to over 100,000 residents, the council says.

It is preparing to ask central government for a law change allowing it to review the number of its politicians.

The council’s governing body is due to approve the move at its meeting on Thursday.

“It’s to provide the flexibility for the future and bring it in line with any other council in the country,” said Shale Chambers, Waitemata Local Board chair and a member of the working party which has recommended the review.

Under the law the city’s 13 wards are supposed to represent the same number of Aucklanders, plus or minus 10 per cent.

Chambers’ ward which covers the area from Westmere to Parnell  is already representing around 24 per cent more people than the average, he said.

That would continue to get worse as time went on.

“Worse in a sense of a good problem,” he said. “The population of the city centre and fringe is going to grow much faster than any other area in Auckland, which is only logical.”

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Full article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/70663996/auckland-may-get-more-politicians-under-council-bid-for-law-change

While things like the bureaucracy and Council meetings need to sharpen up it will come to a point that Councillors will face being over burdened from representing a large constituency. That in itself would undermine the local democracy aspect.

An easier way around this would be to tie the central Electorates our electorate MPs use which is set to a set population amount and reviewed regularly. It would mean old Wards disappearing and new ones created as the population grew of course. But also add in nine regional councillors elected at large and (for the sake on continuity) two Maori seats to the mix to allow balancing especially as Ward Councillors can go pro-patch rather than thinking of the region at large.

Your thoughts around this?

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