• Number of Napier councillors and wards up for review

Number of Napier councillors and wards up for review

Napier residents have the chance to tell their mayor and councillors what they think of the city’s current representation arrangements in an online survey that opens today.

The Napier City Council Representation Review will consider how many elected members should be on council, whether the city should keep its current ward structure and boundaries or change or eliminate them, and whether community boards should be introduced. The review will also consider the number of Māori wards and representatives the city will have, after the 2021 Council decision to introduce these for the 2025 local election.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise says understanding people’s sense of place within the city will help with good decision-making during the review.

“We need an up-to-date picture of Napier’s communities and how they fit together. For example, what type of community activities contribute to people’s sense of belonging? What aspects of people’s communities matter the most to them? Do people identify mainly with their suburb, or the whole city?”

As well as the online survey which will be open to everyone, Council will use an external research agency to undertake telephone interviews across all demographics to answer questions such as these.

“There are many different ways we can shape our city’s representation,” says Wise.

“People will have differing views on whether these variations are pros or cons. That’s why we want to hear from as many people as possible about what they think. Local government is all about representing our residents, so it’s important we know their opinions.”

Information to help the community understand the rationale for various representation arrangements can be found at sayitnapier.nz, along with the survey, which closes on Friday 15 December.

Council will consider the results of the survey and the telephone interviews. It will then put forward an initial proposal on the city’s representation arrangements for formal community consultation in early 2024, followed by public hearings. Council will make its final decision in mid-2024.

Napier City Council would be required to undertake its next Representation Review six years later.