Regional amalgamation proposal

The Local Government Commission has proposed a new governance structure for the Wellington region.

Diagram of reorganisaton of elected members in the Wellington region.
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What is being proposed?

Under the draft proposal, a single new authority would take over the functions of the existing nine councils in the region.

The new authority would be called Greater Wellington Council. It would replace Carterton District Council; Hutt City Council; Upper Hutt City Council; Kapiti Coast District Council; Masterton District Council; Porirua City Council; South Wairarapa District Council; Wellington City Council; and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Wards and local boards

The Greater Wellington Council would be led by one mayor and divided into eight geographic areas or wards and eight local boards with the same boundaries as the eight wards.

The eight wards would be:

  • Lower Hutt
  • Upper Hutt
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Lambton
  • Ohariu
  • Porirua-Tawa
  • Rongotai
  • Wairarapa

Each ward would be represented by between 2 and 4 councillors.

The mayor and councillors would be responsible for high-level matters affecting the whole region, sharing the decisions with local boards.

What is Wellington City Council’s position?

The Wellington City Council met on 25 February to consider the Commission’s draft proposal, and agreed on a formal submission.

The submission notes that

  • the draft proposal lacks demonstrable support in the region; and
  • recommends that the Commission reconsiders its current proposal and considers and consults on an alternative solution, with a separate Wairarapa Council and one or more metropolitan Councils on the western side of the Rimutakas.

Wellington City Council Local Government Submission (169KB PDF) | Text Version (8MB RTF)

Next steps

  • 2 March 2015: Deadline for public submissions on the draft proposal - consultation closes at 4pm.
  • After 2 March 2015: The Commission will hold public hearings, and then decide whether to issue a final proposal or remain with the existing council arrangements.

If the Commission issues a final proposal, voters can demand a poll.

A poll will be held if 10 percent of voters in any affected council area sign a petition. The vote would be held across the whole region and the result would be binding.

If more than 50 percent of those who vote support the proposal, the transition begins to a new council. The first elections for the new council would likely be in October 2016.

How does the proposal compare with the current system?

Elected representative Current Proposed
Mayors and regional chair
9 1
Councillors
95 21
Community board members
57 0
Local board members
0 60
Total 161 82

Shared decision-making

Greater Wellington Council would have shared decision-making. The mayor and councillors would be responsible for high-level matters affecting the region. They would share power with eight local boards, which would be responsible for some of the council budgets and decisions affecting their local communities.

Māori decision-making

A Māori Board and a Natural Resources Management Committee, made up of council and iwi representatives, would provide for Māori participation in decision-making and advice to the Council.

Why are these changes proposed?

The drivers for change behind this proposal are based on the following questions:

  • Can we be more efficient, have less duplication and offer better value for money services?
  • Can some services where there is shared responsibility be better delivered on a regional basis?

What challenges lie ahead?

Economic priorities include developing transport and replacing ageing infrastructure. For example, almost 50 percent of water pipes and 40 percent of wastewater pipes across the region need replacing, with an estimated cost of $1.7 to $2.6 billion.

Councils also need to:

  • prepare for natural hazards like storms and earthquakes
  • upgrade information technology
  • encourage region-wide growth.

What are the key issues?

The new council would have to consider five important issues:

  • Rating systems
  • Condition of assets
  • Level of council services
  • Nature of council investments
  • Future development plans

More information

If you have any questions or would like to view more in-depth information about this proposal, visit: Wellington Region Reorganisation – Local Government Commission