About representation reviews

For electoral purposes, Hamilton City is divided into wards (voting areas). To ensure fair and effective representation at elections, we review our electoral arrangements at least every six years, as required by the Local Electoral Act 2001. These reviews consider questions such as:

  • How many wards are best for our city?
  • Should all (or some) councillors be elected from across the city, or from two (or more) wards?
  • How many councillors should there be overall, and in each ward?
  • Do we want community boards, and if so, how many members should they have, and which areas should they cover?

As a result of the most recent representation review in 2021, Hamilton City is divided into three wards - the East Ward, West Ward, and a citywide Maaori Ward.

2021 representation review

In May 2021, Council voted to introduce Maaori wards for the next two local government elections (2022, 2025), after a public consultation. 

In August 2021, we underwent a wider representation review, as required by the Electoral Act 2001.

The proposal:

Image of the proposal from the 2021 representation review
  • Keeps the current structure of six East Ward councillors, six West Ward councillors and the Mayor
  • Introduces two citywide Maaori Ward councillors
  • Does not introduce community boards

The submissions:

We receive 451 submissions with a variety of views.

  • 177 responses (39%) supported the initial proposal in its entirety.
  • 274 responses (61%) did not support the initial proposal in its entirety.
  • 12 people has their say at the Hearing and Engagement Committee meeting via Zoom.

However, over a third of comments were on topics out of the scope of the consultation (particularly regarding the introduction of Maaori wards - a decision that had already been made). This skewed the ratio of support/non-support of the proposal, so it is important to note:

  • If the submissions rejecting the proposal on these grounds are disregarded as out of scope, the balance of submissions for and against the initial proposal in entirety is closer to 50/50.
  • Several submissions also referenced inadequate levels of Maaori representation in general. However, the number of Maaori Ward seats is determined by population proportion set by legislation.

On 11 November, councillors considered the public submissions and voted to approve the initial proposal as the final proposal for representation arrangements, adding two city-wide Maaori Ward seats to the otherwise unchanged Council table.

This decision was publicly notified on 17 November 2021.


The appeal period ran from 17 November to 17 December 2021. Five written appeals were submitted. Two were considered valid by the Local Government Commission, and the others disregarded as they appealed elements that were out of scope, such as the introduction of Maaori wards.  

Determination of the Local Government Commission

The appeals hearing was held on 8 March 2022. The Commission decided in favour of Council’s initial proposal. 

Hamilton’s new representation arrangements will come into effect for the next local Government elections in October 2022. 

Next representation review

As part of the 2021 decision on representation arrangements, Council recommended that the arrangements confirmed as a result of this Wider Representation Review be reviewed in 2023/24 (for the 2025 triennial elections). If the new Council (following the 2022 elections) decides not to follow this recommendation the next representation review will take place in 2027.

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Last updated 9 June 2022