Mayor: Let's Hear From Wellingtonians First

11 May 2012

Wellington City Council's Strategy and Policy Committee today (Thursday 10 May) voted to seek the opinions of Wellingtonians on options for the shape of local government in the region.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says: "The city's residents must have a genuine say in the future of the city and region - and they must be part of the decision-making process from the start."

Today's committee meeting voted to put four governance options to the people of Wellington - ranging from the 'status quo' with more regionally-shared council services, to a two-council and three-council proposal - to a single council for the whole region including the Wairarapa with subsidiary boards, and welcome further possibilities.

The committee also declined to join an independent review panel proposed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Mayor Wade-Brown says a majority of the committee agreed that they want a 'community-led' process open to differing views and options rather than a panel of worthy independent people. "There is wisdom in our community from grassroots to academics. We want to hear from all parts of our cosmopolitan communities.

"And I, along with most of my colleagues, don't want to cede our political responsibilities to an unelected panel. I want to hear from Wellingtonians first."

The time for an independent panel is when the Local Government Commission deliberates and consults on any proposals. Our Council is clear that we desire a referendum on any proposal for change.

The committee has given the go-ahead for public consultation on local government structure to start on 16 May.

Mayor Wade-Brown says that after public feedback the Council will debate its preference for any of the options. Then it will consider whether there is public support to submit a proposal for change to the Local Government Commission or comment on any other proposals put forward.