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Representation review

Local Government Commission decision on representation review 17 January 2019.

The Local Government Commission has determined Council’s existing representation arrangements will apply for the election of the Gisborne District Council to be held on 12 October 2019.

This means there will be no change to ward boundaries or names and the number of elected members will remain the same. There will be no community boards, as put forward in Council’s final proposal following its representation review.

The basis for the Commission’s determination was that the proposal did not provide for effective representation of the rural areas, and a ward system would continue to best provide for this.

The final proposal recommended nine elected members but the Commission believed this number was not suffice to provide for the responsibilities of a unitary authority.

The decision also stated while they were not against community boards, extensive engagement should have been carried out on community boards prior to the proposal.

The Commission received 59 appeals and objections to Council’s final proposal and hearings of submissions both in support and against the proposal were held in October 2018.

A representation review is required to be held every six years to ensure council representation is fair, effective and meets the needs of our communities. However, Council may choose to review its representation arrangements prior to the 2022 triennial elections.

The review was carried out because Council was required to assess our representation arrangements before the 2019 local body elections. 

Local Government Commission determination of representation arrangements [PDF, 812 KB]

Representation arrangement proposal

At it's meeting on 17 May 2018, Council amended its proposal and adopted a final proposal, being:

9 councillors, plus the Mayor, elected from electors of the district as a whole 
3 community boards - East Coast, Western Rural and Gisborne City
4 members elected and 2 members appointed to each of the:

East Coast Community Board with 2 subdivisions - Matakaoa-Waiapu Subdivision (2 members elected) and Tawhiti-Uawa Subdivision (2 members elected)

Western Rural Community Board with 2 subdivision - Taruheru-Patutahi Subdivision (2 members elected) and Waipaoa Subdivision (2 members elected)

Gisborne City Community Board.

Electoral System and Māori Wards:  Decisions on Māori Wards and the electoral system were made on 17 August 2017. No demand for a poll was received by 21 February 2018 in relation to either of those decisions, so these matters can be considered as part of the next round of representation arrangements in 2020.

Appeals or objections

Appeals and objections closed 2 July 2018. We received 61 in total.

A map showing the 3 Community Board Representation Arrangement [PDF, 245 KB]

Background - what is a Representation Review?

A Representation Review helps to determine how many councillors there should be and how they represent the public. The Local Electoral Act 2001 requires all councils to review their representation arrangements at least once every 6 years.

Council has now decided on an initial draft proposal. It proposes to keep the same number of wards as 5 but increase the number of councillors from 13 to 14. The Gisborne ward currently has 9 councillors. and it's proposed that increases to 10.

Scenarios considered

Since July 2017, Council has been considering a number of scenarios as to how the Council should represent you in the 2019 local body elections. They've considered:

  • How many councillors should represent the district
  • Should councillors be voted for by ward or by district-wide voting
  • Should the district have community boards
  • Should Maori wards be established
  • Which electoral system should be used, FPTP or STV (First-Past-the-Post or Single Transferable Vote)

In September 2017 Council decided that the electoral system of First Past the Post should be kept and that Maori wards not be established.

Council has now decided on an “initial” or draft proposal on what it considers should be its future representation arrangements.

Council is proposing to keep the same number of wards with rural ward  boundary adjustments to keep them compliant with the plus or minus 10% rule and to increase the number of councillors from 13 to 14 for the next local body elections in 2019.

At the 22 February Council meeting 7 options were presented and work-shopped following the meeting. Council refined their options and requested that: 

♦ the option of 2 wards (Gisborne city and a rural ward) with 9 city councillors and 3 rural councillors be considered.  

♦ asked for a new option of 5 wards (10 city councillors) and the existing 4 rural wards with one councillor in each ward. They also requested rural boundary adjustments to make the rural wards compliant with the plus or minus 10% rule.

Council meeting 22 February Report 18-007 [PDF, 2 MB] Representation Review Preliminary Consultation. 
[PDF, 2 MB]

On 2 March these 2 options were presented to Council for consideration.

The initial proposal included

♦ Retain the 5 wards and their names with boundary adjustments. 
♦ Have 14 councillors elected from 5 wards and the Mayor elected by the whole district. 
♦ There will be no community boards. 
♦ There will be no Maori wards. 
♦ Retain the First-Past-the-Post electoral system.

Proposed wards, names and boundaries

We currently have 5 electoral wards in the district, 4 rural and one city.  Council proposes to retain the same ward names with rural ward boundaries adjusted, the wards are: Gisborne city, Taruheru-Patutahi, Waipaoa, Tawhiti-Uawa and Matakaoa - Waiapu.

Elected members (councillors)

Council is proposing to increase the number of Gisborne city ward councillors from 9 to 10 – making 14 councillors to be elected from 5 wards, and the Mayor (elected by the whole district). The decision relies on:

  • the challenges of effectively representing people
  • having regard to the large area of the district
  • remoteness and sparse population and relative isolation of communities within the district

Representation requirements

Section 19V (2) of the Local Electoral Act requires that for each ward a councillor must represent the same number of people, plus or minus 10%. In the Gisborne district this would mean that each councillor would need to represent between 3,120 and 3,814 people.

Based on 30 June 2017 estimates, the following table describes Council’s initial proposal based on the number of people councillors will represent. The following table describes Council’s existing and proposed future ward structure based on the number of people:





% Variation

Gisborne city

























Here's a plan showing the new rural wards [PDF, 181 KB]