Representation review

6/07/2018 4:30 p.m.

What's this about?

Every six years, as a council we're legally required to review and consult on our regional election and representation arrangements. The next local body elections are on 12 October 2019, and we have to consider whether we have appropriate representation arrangements in place that take communities of interest and representation fairness into account.

Currently we have 12 councillors representing 6 constituencies.  We're proposing to retain the existing representative arrangements, with the names and boundaries of the constituencies remaining the same:

  • Fiordland constituency – one councillor
  • Eastern-Dome constituency – two councillors
  • Invercargill-Rakiura constituency – six councillors
  • Hokonui constituency – one councillor
  • Western constituency – one councillor
  • Southern constituency – one councillor

Feedback on the initial proposal has now closed. Those who made a submission can appeal the council's final proposal by 4.30 pm on 28 September 2018.

Southland Constituencies1.jpg
Map: Southland's constituencies


As part of our representation review, we are required to determine:

  1. the proposed number of constituencies
  2. the proposed name and boundaries of each constituency
  3. the proposed number of members to be elected to each constituency

The population that each member represents must be within the range of 8,193 ± 10% (7,374 to 9,012), unless particular community of interest considerations justify otherwise.

Our proposal does not meet the ± 10% rule in three constituencies – Fiordland, Invercargill-Rakiura and Southern. This was also the case in 2007 and 2013, and was accepted by the Local Government Commission in order to provide effective representation of the communities of interest.

The population that each member will represent in our proposal is outlined in the table below.

ConstituencyEstimated Resident Population as at 30 June 2017MembersPopulation per Member

Options considered

The councillors considered various options, including a boundary adjustment and a change in the number of councillors and/or constituencies.

Possible Constituency Boundary Change Map April 2018.jpgBoundary adjustment

The Council investigated a boundary adjustment for the eastern boundary of the Invercargill-Rakiura constituency – a boundary shared with the Southern constituency (see the map below). This would mean that approximately 1,323 people from inside the Invercargill-Rakiura constituency would become part of the Southern constituency. This option was rejected by councillors who believe the people affected share a stronger community of interest with their current constituency and that this was a greater priority than complying with the ± 10% rule.

Change the number of councillors and/or constituencies

Councillors considered the option of reducing the number of members to 10 members in five constituencies, which would have complied with the ± 10% rule, but reduced the level of representation for the population in the region and disrupted the identified communities of interest.  

ConstituencyPopulationNumber of CouncillorsPopulation per CouncillorDeviation from region average population per CouncillorPercentage deviation from region average population per Councillor
Fiordland 8,412
Northern 9,76819,7684294.60%

Scenario: 10 councillors / 5 constituencies (GIS computer generated)

The opposite scenario was also considered by increasing the number of members from 12 to 13 and reducing the number of constituencies from 6 to 5, but adhering as closely as possible to the existing constituency boundaries.

ConstituencyPopulationNumber of CouncillorsPopulation per CouncillorDeviation from region average population per CouncillorPercentage deviation from region average population per Councillor
Fiordland 3,63013,630-3,933-52.00%
Eastern-Dome 16,75028,37581210.74%
Western 8,11018,1105477.23%
Invercargill-Rakiura 55,20077,8863234.27%

Scenario: 13 councillors / 5 constituencies

However, councillors considered that while the fairness aspects may improve, some of the communities of interest would be disrupted. For example, in a possible Hokonui-Southern constituency, there is very little in common between the Winton and Tokanui communities. For this reason, councillors chose to reject the option in favour of the current arrangement.

Maori representation

Councillors considered the option of including Maori representation in the 2019 local body elections. Based on the criteria in the Local Electoral Act, one region-wide Maori constituency could be created that would have one member representing it. Following advice from tangata whenua, the Council opted not to propose the creation of a Maori constituency as Tangata whenua are satisfied that a very strong relationship already exists with the Council through the Murihiku Charter of Understanding with iwi.


Submissions close 6 July 2018
If no submissions: Proposal sent to the Commission as if it was an appeal if it is outside the ± 10% rule)31 July 2018
Prepare report to Council 9 July 2018
Hear and consider submissions15 August 2018
Council determines "final" proposal15 August 2018
Public notice of final proposal25 August 2018
Appeals and Objections close28 September 2018

No appeal – either:

  1. final proposal (if it complies with the ± 10% rule) and public notice of final proposal; or
  2. proposal is sent to the Commission as if it were an appeal (if it does not comply with the ± 10% rule)
31 October 2018
Report to Council on status of process7 November 2018
Appeals, objections other info to the Commission30 November 2018
Commission considers and makes determinationFebruary 2019
Determination subject to High Court appealMarch 2019
Survey plans prepared by LINZ 
Local body elections12 October2019

Supporting documents

Initial proposal
Constituency maps
> Public notice  (initial proposal) 2 June 2018
> Media release 2 June 2018
> Public notice (final proposal) 25 August 2018


The Council received three submissions on its proposal. One submission was neutral on the Council’s proposal indicating that it would work with the Council on any possible future boundary changes relating to the Invercargill-Rakiura Constituency. Two submissions contained suggestions or queries relating to various elements of the proposal, as follows:

  • one submitter suggested a reduction from 6 members to 3 members for the Invercargill-Rakiura constituency.
  • one submitter suggested that the Council consider using the boundaries of the Freshwater Management Units as the constituency boundaries.

Final proposal

Having considered all of the submissions, the Council resolved to adopt its initial proposal as the Council’s final proposal.


Any person who made a submission on the Council’s initial proposal may lodge an appeal against the Council’s decision. An appeal must relate to the matters raised in that person’s submission. Appeals must be made in writing and must be received by Council no later than 4.30 pm on 28 September 2018.

Appeals are to be forwarded to Environment Southland:

Attention – Ken Swinney (03 2115 115)
Physical address – Regional House, corner Price Street and North Road, Invercargill
Postal Address – Private Bag 90116, Invercargill 9840
Email –


If you have questions about the proposed representation arrangements, please get in touch with Ken Swinney, Strategy and Corporate Planning Manager on 0800 76 88 45.

Page reviewed: 29 Aug 2018 12:12pm