The Local Government Commission has determined that Ōtaki retain one ward councillor, but Waikanae and Paraparaumu gain a councillor.
Previously five ward councillors were elected by residents of Kāpiti’s wards, and five councillors were elected by the Kāpiti community at large, as was the mayor. Now, Kāpiti Coast District Council will have seven ward councillors and three district-wide councillors (plus mayor).
It will put pressure on two Ōtaki-based district-wide councillors, Angela Buswell and Jackie Elliott, to retain their positions, assuming they put their name forward again for local body elections on October 8 this year.
The other Kāpiti councillors who were voted in at the 2019 elections on a district-wide basis are Gwynn Compton, Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow and Rob McCann.
The commission’s determination sees the district keeping four wards – Ōtaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Paekākāriki-Raumati. While Ōtaki and Paekākāriki-Raumati will have one ward councillor each, Paraparaumu will have three and Waikanae two.
The determination confirms five community boards as proposed by the council after its recent representation review. That includes a new community board for Raumati.
Mayor K Gurunathan says he welcomes the boost to “grassroots democracy” and the “direction towards localism the commission has given through its decision during a time when central government reforms are heading towards greater centralisation”.
“The reduction of two district-wide councillors and distributing them to boost the numbers in both the Waikanae and Paraparaumu wards will increase the focused representation of these large communities,” he says.
“The creation of the extra community board to service Raumati does the same for grassroots democracy.”
There was no change to the composition of Ōtaki Community Board. It will still have four members voted on by Ōtaki Ward electors, and one member appointed to the board by the council who is the councillor representing Ōtaki Ward. That councillor is currently James Cootes.