Joint News Release
Wellington’s Labour councillors endorse the vision for a ‘proud, prosperous and resilient Wellington region’ by the Wellington Independent Review Panel’s report into the potential of reform for local government in the greater Wellington region. However, there is some nervousness about whether the “refurbished regional council” structure being proposed has been designed so it’s easier to sell the change to the public, versus delivering the appropriate level of accountability in a simpler and more responsive manner between elected members and residents.
Regional councillor Daran Ponter, City Councillors Paul Eagle and Leonie Gill are currently working through the various aspects of the panel’s report.
There is definitely support for local government to enable the Wellington community to flourish once again.
“Labour councillors will look at the Panel’s case for change in the context of the drivers for change that they’ve identified. We must retain genuine representative democracy and be mindful of the amendments currently being made to the Local Government Act” says Cr. Ponter.
The councillors applaud the Panel’s endorsement of the feedback from the public about the importance of local democracy and engagement on truly local issues.
“As elected members, decision-makers at the top table, the public must still be able to meet with their local councillor face-to-face – it’s at the heart of what representative democracy is about in a democratic society” says Cr. Eagle, the city’s community engagement portfolio leader.
The Panel’s work, together with the work undertaken to date, should be further discussed by each council and this should include keeping communities across the region informed said the councillors.
“We remain supportive of any change proposal still being subject to a referendum. Let’s take the time and get this right” says Cr. Gill.