Council to Consult on Wellington Local Government Models

15 March 2013

The Strategy and Policy Committee yesterday agreed to consult on three options for local government reform in the region.

Consultation will begin next week on Thursday 21 March and a series of public meetings will be held throughout the region during the consultation period for people to have their say. A survey will also be conducted.

The three options are:

  • A single tier unitary council for the whole region - this option includes up to 29 councillors elected by wards and 1 mayor elected at large.
  • A two-tiered unitary council for the whole region - this model includes up to 21 councillors and 1 mayor elected at large. This model also has a second tier of governance that includes up to 8 local boards with up to a further 72 elected board members.
  • A modified status quo - this option includes a single unitary council for the Wairarapa, but no other boundary or responsibility changes to the remaining councils in the region. 

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the outcome from yesterday’s meeting meant the public would be able to consider substantially different forms, instead of two versions of a super city model promoted by the Wellington Region Local Government Reform Working Party.

"I've been consistent in expressing real reservations about a super city from Miramar to Masterton and our Council agrees consultation should include more options than two versions of a super city,” said Mayor Wade-Brown.
 
"Council has also agreed to work with Hutt Valley and Wairarapa Councils to ensure any multi-unitary model includes full consideration of regional and local policy decision-making, asset ownership and service delivery as well as financial information.
 
"I'm delighted we will survey businesses and residents on their views," she said.

The recommendations of the Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee follow:

Report 9                                                                                                                         
Report of the Regional Governance Working Party

THAT the Strategy and Policy Committee:

1. Receive the information.

2. Note officers’ analysis of the governance models currently being considered in the region against the good governance principles and Local Government Commission criteria attached as appendix 1.

3. Note officers’ analysis of the risks and benefits associated with each governance model as outlined in appendix 2.

4. Note officers’ financial considerations as outlined in appendix 3.

5. Receive the report of the Wellington Region Local Government Reform Working Party (attached as appendix 4).

6. Agree to consult the public on three options:

    (i) A single tier unitary authority (as described in the Working Party report);

    (ii) A two-tier unitary authority (as described in the Working Party report);

    (iii) A modified status quo - Wellington Regional Council and existing five territorial Councils on Western side of Rimutaka plus one unitary Wairarapa Council - with active pursuit of shared or transferred services.

7. Agree to participate and fund further consultation on the Working Party’s report subject to their willingness to include (iii) above.

8. Request officers work with the Hutt and Wairarapa councils, and any other willing councils, to ensure any multi-unitary model includes full consideration of regional and local policy decision-making, asset ownership and service delivery as well as financial information.

9. Agree to provide funding for consultation and delegate to the Mayor, Portfolio Leader, Community Engagement and the Chief Executive the authority to sign-off on any consultation material - whether that consultation is run with the Working Party or separately.

10. Agree to survey Wellington City residents and businesses on their view towards the end of the consultation period.

11. Note that the findings of consultation including survey results will be presented back to the Strategy and Policy Committee for consideration before next steps are decided.

12. Note that a region-wide poll of electors is likely and desirable on any final proposal from the Local Government Commission and if it fails to reach over 50% then the status quo will remain.