Wellington Scoop

Paul Bruce wants regional referendum before decisions on local government reforms

Statement from Regional Councillor Paul Bruce
Greater Regional Councillor Paul Bruce called for a region wide referendum before any decisions are made on local government changes. Cr Bruce also indicated concern on how the debate would take place, and said that there was an urgent need for a wider discussion on local body reform, given the proposed Government legislative framework.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has an agenda item next Tuesday outlining the government’s position on local government reform, with recommendations for an independent Review Panel, criteria for their selection, terms of reference, engagement and timelines.

The remit delegates to the Regional Council Chair and Deputy Chair the responsibility to work with participating organisations to select and appoint members of the independent review panel, and directs the Regional Council’s CEO to put in place administrative and funding arrangements to support the independent review panel and subsequent process.


Cr Bruce said that with the International Energy Agency indicating further fuel price rises and possible shortages, local engagement on transport and employment opportunities, will become even more important to the survival of those communities.
Decisions need to be made at the lowest level possible. This means neighbourhood groups working on local employment issues, community share schemes, community gardens and orchards along with care for local streams and the environment. Decisions on social welfare, education, health and economic development are made at the national level, but there must also be engagement at every level below.

The cross boundary and common issues need to be dealt with at a different levels, with Cr Bruce reaffirming the need for a catchment based regional council to maintain a base water supply, flood control, workable transport networks between urban islands, pest control, emergency management, and regional economic development.

Cr Bruce also said that representatives may make the final decisions after debates have been held, but they need to be accountable with limited tenure and if there is no consensus, then the status quo can still be the better option.

Cr Bruce concluded that the level at which decisions are made needs to be debated more widely with engagement to be deliberative at every level, with multiple forms of consultation utilised.

1 comment:

  1. Brent Efford, 23. March 2012, 23:17

    To use a rather dated phrase … right on, Paul!
    The weirdest thing I see in the Regional Council is how in public transport – 70% of its total responsibility, for goodness sake! – it takes a narrow-cast view and splits the region into small corridors (like Wellington Railway Station to the Hospital, as though that was self-contained!) but when it comes to highways it is all “regional” and even “roads of national significance”!
    Despite the GWRC’s apparent role as environmental guardians, it is really the highway lobby that it serves!