At the next local body elections Porirua residents may be able to vote using their home computers – but they may have fewer city councillors to vote for.
Mayor Nick Leggett says the council will shortly seek public comment on a proposal to allow e-voting or voting on-line. “We want to be the first council in New Zealand to introduce e-voting.”
AS part of its representation review, councillors have also voted to reduce the number of councillors from 13 to 10. That will be achieved by cutting the number of councillors from each ward by one. If approved, the Northern and Eastern wards will have four councillors (instead of five) and the Western ward will have two (instead of three).
Mr Leggett says the change is timely. “I accept we are larger (in terms of the number of councillors) than most councils of a similar size. We should lead from the front in reducing our numbers.”
However the matter is required to go out for public consultation before a final decision is made.
He says the council’s long-term plan “reduces spending across all service areas”.
“We heeded the call from residents who want us to be more aggressive in cutting operating costs. But we are not planning to compromise on that make Porirua such a great place to raise a family.”
He says the council plans to double expenditure on stormwater and wastewater. “We’re also retaining the ability to spend $15 million on revitalising the city centre – providing the private sector comes on board.”
Mr Leggett says the long-term plan takes account of the possibility of costs that will arise if the council has to vacate its earthquake-prone administration building. “There’s money in the plan to do something. But there are still a lot of options to go through.”
He says the council has to be mindful of the possibility of local government restructuring, including the possibility of a super city. “We don’t want to blow $20 million of ratepayers’ money on a new building that may be required for only three or five years, or however long.”
He says the plan envisages rates increases of 3.2, 2.9 and 2.7% respectively for the next three years.
What do you think about e-voting? Will it encourage more people to take an interest in local affairs? Or is it a recipe for electoral fraud?
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