Local Government Reform - Submissions Open

16 May 2012

Submissions have opened today (16 May) for Wellingtonians wanting to have their say on options for the possible future shape of local government in the region.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says: "Now is the time to hear from our local communities and organisations about the best shape for democracy in Wellington.

"We want to hear whether two tiers of local government helps or hinders," she says.

Submissions will be invited until 29 June on four governance options for Wellington City and the region.

The four options range from keeping the existing council boundaries and making more formal arrangements to how we share services, through to amalgamating all nine councils in the region into one big council - an Auckland-style 'super city'. 

The four options are:

Option 1 - all existing council boundaries and representation, including the Regional Council, remain the same and share more services.

Option 2 - rearrange the nine existing councils into three unitary councils:

  • Wellington Capital and Coast Council - combining Wellington City, Porirua City and Kapiti Coast District
  • Hutt Valley Council - combining Hutt and Upper Hutt cities
  • Wairarapa Council - combining the three councils in the Wairarapa.

Greater Wellington Regional Council would be abolished.

Option 3 - merge all existing councils into two councils:

  • Wellington Council - combining Wellington City, Porirua, Hutt and Upper Hutt cities, and Kapiti Coast District
  • Wairarapa Council - combining the three councils in the Wairarapa.

Again, the regional council would be abolished.    

Option 4 - merge all existing councils into one council for the whole region, plus 10 local boards elected to look after 'local' services.  As with the new Auckland Council, this new single council would be the only entity that could set and collect rates, and would make the major decisions for the entire region.

Mayor Wade-Brown says Wellingtonians are also welcome to come up with their own ideas.

Wellington City Council is also working with other councils in the region to conduct a regional survey of residents on their views of the need for reform and which of the four options offers the best future for local democracy.

Depending on feedback received during the consultation period and more detailed analysis of the options, by August the Council will have three broad choices about what to do next:

  • Do nothing - if the feedback is clear that there is little appetite for structural change, the Council could decide no further action is required for now; OR
  • Identify a preferred option/s and consult once more with the public on more detailed proposal/s; OR
  • Identify a preferred option and submit that to the Local Government Commission. That would not be the end of public consultation - the Local Government Commission is required to consult with the public itself on any proposed changes.

Here's how Wellingtonians can make submissions:

  • Get a copy of the Local Government Reform in Wellington booklet from city libraries, from the City Council service centre at 101 Wakefield Street, or by calling the Council on (04) 499 4444 and asking for a copy to be sent to you. The booklet contains a Freepost submission form - you won't need a postage stamp.
  • Email your views to reform@wcc.govt.nz
  • Write to us at Wellington City Council, PO Box 2199, 101 Wakefield Street, Wellington City - Attention: Elise Webster
  • There will also be an opportunity for submitters to have their say to Councillors in person.