October 06, 2022
Rotorua wards recipe for dissent
Retiring Rotorua Lakes mayor Steve Chadwick says the ward system the Electoral Commission imposed on the city is a shambles.
Rather than the plan put up by the council in consultation with Te Arawa which would have created a Maori ward, a general ward and the rest of the councillors in an at-large ward chosen by all voters, there’s three councillors in a Maori ward, six in a general ward and a single rural ward councillor.
She says it will make the council difficult to govern.
“Even within my family one son can vote for three plus a mayor because he’s on the Maori roll and the other one can vote for six pus a mayor because he’s on the general roll and they both chose that for the general election, they don’t choose it for the local body elections. They say ‘this isn’t right for a town like ours,'” Mayor Chadwick says.
It also means voters in the rural ward, which came about because of lobbying by Federated Farmers, only get to vote one of the councillors.
She supports a members bill from Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi that would allow Maori voters to switch between the general and Maori electoral rolls at any time, including between general and local body elections.
People have until Saturday to get their votes in.