Extraordinary Council Meeting

28 September 2021

Northland Regional Council Minutes

 

Representation Review Hearings held remotely

on Tuesday 28 September 2021, commencing at 10.00am

 

 

Tuhinga/Present:

Chairperson, Penny Smart

Councillors:

Terry Archer

Justin Blaikie

Jack Craw

Amy Macdonald

Marty Robinson

Rick Stolwerk

Joce Yeoman

 

I Tae Mai/In Attendance:

Full or Part Meeting

Electoral Officer

Tumuaki - Chief Executive Officer

Acting GM – Governance and Engagement

Māori Relationships Manager

Māori Cultural Technical Advisor

Governance Specialist

Submitters

 

The Chair declared the meeting open at 10.05am and proceedings commenced with a karakia by the Deputy Chair.

Secretarial Note: Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions and the meeting being conducted fully remotely, proceedings were livestreamed in order to be open to the public.

Ngā whakapahā/Apologies (Item 3.0)

 

Moved (Robinson/Macdonald)

That the apology from Councillor Kitchen for non-attendance be received.

Carried

 

Nga whakapuakanga/Declarations of Conflicts of Interest (Item 2.0)

It was advised that councillors should make declarations item-by-item as the meeting progressed.

 

Receipt of Late Submissions (Item 5.1)

Report from Chris Taylor, Governance Specialist

Moved (Craw/Stolwerk)

1.         That the report ‘Receipt of Late Submissions’ by Chris Taylor, Governance Specialist and dated 16 September 2021, be received.

2.         That the late submissions received from Mr Brett Collins and Mr SK Reilly be accepted and in accordance with Section 19M of the Local Electoral Act Mr Brett Collins’ request to be heard is approved.

Carried

 

Secretarial Note:  Mr Brett Collins withdrew from being heard; as did submitters Tame te Rangi, Karen Mickelson and  Anahita Djamali.

 

Hearing of submissions (Item 5.2)

Report from Chris Taylor, Governance Specialist

Submitter: Liam Joseph Rātana – Rātana Hapakuku Whanau Trust

Secretarial Note: Ted Rātana addressed council before handing over to his nephew to speak to the submission.

Key points of the hearing included:

·        It was acknowledged that a huge amount of mahi had been undertaken to reach this point.

·        It was also acknowledged that council was actively supporting Māori interests through mechanisms such as the Te Tai Tokerau Māori and Council Working Group, Mana Whakahono a Rohe agreements, iwi/hapu environmental management plans and co-governance arrangements.

·        However, it was also acknowledged there was still a lot of work to be done and that Te Taitokerau Māori should determine how they were best represented.

·        Concern was raised whether two Māori councillors could adequately represent all of Te Taitokerau.  It was also suggested that 11 general constituencies and three Māori constituencies would better reflect that Māori made up 32% of the eligible voting population in the region.

·        Supported the establishment of North, West, South and East Māori constituencies with a Māori councillor from each.

·        Stated that those standing in Māori constituencies must be Māori.

·        Encouraged continued conversations given Māori constituencies were only ‘one tool’.

 

Secretarial Note: The Māori Cultural Technical Advisor provided a mihi.

 

Submitter: Jane Johnston – Paihia & Districts Residents & Ratepayers Association Inc.

Key points of the hearing included:

·        A recent public meeting, prompted by the Far North rates review, had addressed representation.  The feedback was that constituents wanted more representatives on council to reflect the diversity of the region.

·        Concern was raised that the introduction of Māori constituencies had resulted in less general seats.

·        Attention was drawn to the large geographic size of the proposed Far North and Kaipara constituencies which incorporated a ‘massive difference in geography, catchments, work of council and communities of interest’.

·        It was stressed that councillors needed to be more accessible to the community and this could only be achieved by more councillors.

·        There were significant changes being proposed, not just the local government reforms, and ‘massive change is required in the local sector’.

·        There were huge issues facing Northland including, but not limited to, asset/infrastructure transfer, allocation of water, security of water supplies, alternative energy supplies, resilience and security of supply chains.

·        Preferred arrangements included three Māori constituencies and nine general constituencies.  Alternatively three Māori constituencies and ten general constituencies.

 

Submitter: Margaret Hicks

·        Supported the establishment of Māori constituencies but stated that candidates ‘should have Māori whakapapa’.

·        The proposal failed to address the poor voter turnout.  It was stressed that ‘for democracy to function people need to participate’.

·        Concern was raised that the consultation only targeted those with computer access. 

·        Concern was also raised that the hearings were being held remotely as opposed to face to face.

 

Secretarial Note:  The meeting adjourned at 10.48am and reconvened at 10.56am.

Submitters: Colin Hannah and Jack Blackwell – Federated Farmers Northland

Key points of the hearing included:

·        It was stressed that democracy was very important.

·        Concern was raised that the proposed Far North and Kaipara constituencies were geographically too large in size for a single councillor to connect with the ratepayers.  As such it was suggested there should be an additional constituency.

·        Federated Farmers Northland were neutral regarding the proposal that the two Māori councillors be elected from the region at large.

 

Whakamutunga (Conclusion)

The meeting concluded at 11.01am.