News | 3 September 2021

Status quo wards and 15 Councillors proposed for next local election

Maintaining the current ward boundaries and increasing the total number of Councillors by one to 15 for future elections is being proposed for Wellington.

Panoramic view from harbour to the city.

“After considering a number of options, Council voted to recommend that the current ward structure is kept allowing us to add the new Māori ward councillor with minimal changes to the current system,” says Mayor Andy Foster.

“Wellington has an ambitious work programme about to get underway with considerable engagement and discussion with residents. For that reason and because we are likely to review the boundaries again before 2025, the proposed option does not differ a lot from the structure we currently have.”

Wellington City Council is recommending there are 14 general ward Councillors elected from the current five wards, and one Māori ward elected by people on the Māori roll across the city, and the Mayor elected by the whole city. Under the proposal, the current community board structure remains.

The proposal is part of Wellington’s representation review which considered governance arrangements for the city. The review included looking at community boards, whether Councillors should be elected by the whole city, and the boundaries, names, and Councillor numbers in wards.

A public consultation process on the initial proposal starts tomorrow (Saturday 4 September). The consultation document outlines the other options looked at.

The Local Electoral Act 2001 (the Act) requires councils to review its electoral arrangements at least every six years. Wellington City last reviewed its arrangements in 2018 but due to the decision by Council to establish a Māori ward earlier this year, another review is required before the 2022 local elections.

The outcome of this review will apply to the 2022 local elections. Council may conduct another representation review ahead of the 2025 election.

The proposed name for the new Māori ward is Te Whanganui-a-Tara Ward.

“The history of our city and the importance of Māori culture is shown by this name which derives from one of the earliest known names for Wellington Harbour back when Whatonga’s son Tara was sent down from the Mahia Peninsula by his father to explore southern lands for their people to settle. It literally means the great harbour of Tara,” says Mayor Foster.

The Representation Review Initial Proposal is open for public submissions from Saturday 4 September – Monday 4 October. The consultation document and further information can be found at www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz