Referendum details confirmed

Posted: 25/02/15

Councillors voted today to adopt the WDC recommendations for the format of the upcoming referendum that will decide the fate of the old Harbour Board building in Whangarei's Town Basin.

The referendum will proceed under the following format:

  • there will be three options to vote for (1) the Hundertwasser & Wairau Maori Art Centre, (2) the Harbourside maritime museum and (3) demolition of the building
  • the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system will be used
  • the referendum process starts on 9 March with formal notification to the Electoral Office and must be completed within 89 days
  • there will be 28 days for roll inspection, 40 days for preparation of material & mail out and a 21 day voting period
  • voting papers will be mailed before mid May
  • voting will be finished by 5 June
  • the final announcement will be made on 9 June
  • it will be a Postal Ballot
  • all Whangarei residents on the Electoral Role and all non-resident ratepayers are entitled to vote
  • winning option has two years to raise funds (if funds not raised, results of referendum lapse)

The recommendation was debated at some length, before Mayor Mai upheld a point of procedure to halt debate and vote on the recommendations.

Councillors were reminded that they had foregone any opportunity to make amendments to the original November referendum resolution (by not bringing any Notices of Motion five days prior to the meeting) and a number of amendments were declined on that basis.

Other amendments were tabled but most were voted down – notably an attempt to delay the referendum and another to change the voting procedure from First Past The Post to Single Transferable Vote – but two minor amendments did pass.