A new representation system for Council was approved by the Local Government Commission in April 2013. Council consulted with its ratepayers and residents in 2012 on how they wanted to be represented by councillors and community boards and community development area subcommittees and its final proposal was to create five wards with multiple councillors:
- Mararoa-Waimea – 3 councillors
- Waiau-Aparima – 3 councillors
- Winton-Wallacetown – 3 councillors
- Waihopai-Toetoes – 2 councillors
- Stewart Island-Rakiura – 1 councillor
There would also be eight community boards – Te Anau, Tuatapere, Otautau, Riverton, Wallacetown, Winton, Stewart Island and Edendale-Wyndham, along with 19 Community Development Areas.
Six appeals were received, and the Local Government Commission held a hearing in Invercargill in March 2013. Its decision endorses Council’s proposal for five wards with multiple councillors, eight community boards and 19 CDAs. In making the decision, the commissioners said the model is “out of the models considered, the one that best provides for effective representation of communities of interest while also meeting other requirements of the Act (Local Electoral Act)”.
Two small changes to the Council proposal were made:
- It was proposed that community boards include at least one but up to three members appointed by Council. The commissioners believed a precise number was needed and it determined that it be one appointed member.
- The Stewart Island Community Board should include Rakiura in the name.