Regional governance review

Scenic view of Wellington.

Shaping your local government

Wellington City Council made decisions in December 2012 to ask you about what you want Wellington’s local government to look like in the future (see committee report below). 

Report 9 - Strategy and Policy Committee meeting - 12.03.13

We asked to hear your views about this because these are important decisions, they are decisions that will impact how our city and our region looks in the future and what kind of society we have. 

Why we asked about change

Our current local government structure was put in place in 1989. There are 8 city or district councils and a regional council across the region. In our current form, we have achieved some great things, we have a vibrant world-class capital city, excellent transport infrastructure, and we share our skills and expertise with each other to run a large proportion of the region’s water network and more.

Times are changing though and our region of around half a million people have different needs today. We are more mobile, we expect and deserve value for money services, and we are future focused.

The way local government is set up in the region reflects our various broader communities: Wellington, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua, Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. Our councils work hard for their areas and have achieved a lot over the last 20 or so years.

But, we could do better. We will work to improve the services we deliver, how much they cost and what our cities, communities and neighbourhoods look like.

What we wanted to know 

  • Do you want to change how Wellington’s local government is set up?
  • If the status quo were changed, what changes do you want?


The deadline for submissions was 3 May 2013 and submissions have closed. 


The Council also asked Wellington city residents about their preferences in a separate survey. We have publicly released these results, which you can view below:

Local Government Reform Survey: Colmar Brunton Report - May 2013 (869KB PDF)

What happens next

We provided a report to the Strategy and Policy Committee on 6 June, which you can read below.

Regional Governance: Response to Reorganisation (844KB PDF)

As a result of that meeting, the Council agreed to submit an alternative reorganisation application to the Local Government Commission. The submission is to assist the Commission as it considers potential changes to the way local government is structured in Wellington.

In May the three Wairarapa Councils submitted an application to the Commission seeking to unify and become a unitary council and no longer part of the Wellington Region. In June the Greater Wellington Regional Council submitted an application to the Commission seeking to unify all the current councils in the region as a single super-city style council with two tiers.

On 11 July, Wellington City Council submitted its response to those proposals. We support the Wairarapa proposal, and argue that if change should be considered, then the best possible change in our view - as supported by the majority of our residents - is for a predominantly urban, single tier, small ward based council. You can read our response and media release below.

Alternative Reorganisation Application (4MB PDF)

If, in the coming months, the Commission decides on a preferred option, it is required by law to undertake a formal consultation process with the public. Following that consultation, the Commission will release a final proposal. It may take a year or more for this process to be completed.
If the Commission releases a final proposal, the Council believes that a referendum is the appropriate way for the public to decide on the matter.