Hutt City Council appoints panel for Representation Review

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Published: 26 July 2023

Hutt City Council is pleased to announce the appointment of an independent panel to assist with its Representation Review.

The purpose of a representation review is to make sure that our communities of interest in Lower Hutt are fairly and effectively represented at Council. The representation review looks at the structures we have in place, like the boundary lines and names of our wards, and the number of councillors we have. We're required to do this at least once every six years.

Our independent panel is made up of five members who will work with communities in our city to hear their thoughts on Council representation, to inform the review.

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says he’s confident the independent panel has the experience and expertise to do a thorough job in recommending representation arrangements to council.

"It’s important that our communities of interest are represented at Council and a big part of that is making sure that our structures and processes support our city’s makeup.

"Our panel members will bring experience, expertise and most importantly independence to the representation review process. I look forward to seeing their recommendations."

The new panel members are:

Mr Paul Swain (Panel Chair)

Mr Swain has extensive local and central government experience having served as a Councillor on the Greater Wellington Regional Council, as a Member of Parliament representing the Hutt Valley, and as a Cabinet Minister. He has chaired Government inquiries, reviews, boards and committees. As a former Chief Crown Negotiator for Treaty of Waitangi Settlements, Mr Swain is acutely aware of the importance of providing Mana Whenua with real opportunities to engage meaningfully in the decision-making process.

Mrs Ana So’otaga

Mrs So’otaga has a background leading local and national public policy, strategy, systems change, and equity-centred programme design and delivery. She is of Tokelau heritage and along with her family and four children has been born and raised in the Hutt Valley. Ana is well-connected to the Hutt Valley health, sports and Pacific community. She has held leadership roles at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and Te Awa Kairangi Primary Health Organisation and is now the Strategy and Performance lead with Sport New Zealand.

Sir (Tā) John Clarke

Sir John has over 40 years of management experience in a wide range of public sector environments including education, justice, health, housing, human rights, Crown Law, audit, social welfare, environment and heritage. He is a fluent speaker of Te Reo Māori and has a thorough understanding of Māori issues and wide networks within Māori communities. Sir John has played a major part in Māori-Crown relations and has been the principal cultural adviser to all Ministers of Treaty Settlements.

Ms Meenakshi Sankar

Ms Sankar is a highly experienced research and evaluation practitioner, internationally respected for her leadership in analysis and strategic thinking. Over the last 35 years, she has delivered evaluation assignments for a range of government agencies in New Zealand and multilateral agencies including UNESCO HQ and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Large-scale community engagement using participatory principles is central to her research and evaluation practice, and well demonstrated in her work for the Department of Labour, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, the Education Review Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Matt Richardson

Mr Richardson is an accomplished project manager with expertise in delivering large-scale landscape and ecological mitigation projects across New Zealand. He is passionate about Lower Hutt and brings experience in engaging with a diverse mixture of community groups, including iwi representatives, on a range of projects.

Following engagement with the community, the panel will prepare a report with recommendations to Council based on what they heard. This will be considered and then presented to all Lower Hutt residents for consultation early next year.