Every 6 years councils have to ask their community whether the way council is elected is best suited for the community. What does that mean? Well basically the current system for the ICC is an at large one. This means that all candidates in the election stand to represent the whole city (and Bluff). And all voters can vote for up to 12 people to represent them.
There are alternatives to this system – a ward system and a mixed system.
A ward system is when the area is divided up into areas for example North Invercargill and South Invercargill and each area has a certain number of people who are elected in those areas. In this example you might have 5 people to represent North Invercargiil, 5 to represent South and 1 each for the Otatara and west rural area and Bluff and east rural areas. In this case if you lived in North Invercargill you would only get to vote for the people standing in your area ie 5 votes. A mixed system is a mix of the ward system and the at large system.
The ultimate purpose is to make sure that all parts of the community are fairly represented through council. So that’s the big question. Do you think all people in Invercargill and Bluff are represented fairly at present? And if not what could be done to improve this situation?
Interestingly this process does not address providing for gender representation or age representation around the council table which is something I feel is a real issue. The only way to make a difference on this issue is to make sure we have a good number of women and young people stand in the next election. In 2013 we only had 3 women candidates so we need to do much better!!
Back to the Rep Review – if you are keen to have your say on this we have a great information booklet available which gives you all the details – http://icc.govt.nz/wanted-your-views-on-how-the-city-is-run/ Through this page you can also access an online survey or print out the paper version and return it to council. You have until mid July to get this done. We also have this cool little video which explains the process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plILvAsZLRg&feature=youtu.be
And if you are keen to be part of some discussion on this then you might like to come along to one of our workshops being held at the Library on Wed 1 July 3-5pm and Tues 7 July 6-8pm. We need people to rsvp if they would like to come to these as we have limited space (and they are filling up fast). Please email Kari Graber – firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.