Regional government reform moving fast, says Jenny Rowan after hui

Press Release – Kapiti Coast District Council
There was a “free and frank exchange” of views about various options for new local government structures for the Wellington region at a hui yesterday, said Mayor Jenny Rowan.

“A number of us attended the regular Zone 4 meeting of Elected Members where presentations on the issue where made by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City, Wellington City Council staff, the Wairarapa, and separately the Hutt Valley.

“Our Council has yet to consider a number of principals that may help guide our local debate on a possible way forward, and we will be consulting on the issue shortly.”

Mayor Rowan said the issue of regional government reform was fast moving with various pieces of work being undertaken by different groups across several councils. “We don’t have the capacity to undertake a lot of work ourselves because of other commitments. However, research by others is being freely exchanged.”

At the Zone 4 meeting yesterday Greater Wellington and Porirua City talked about their proposal for a two tier structure, the split in responsibilities, representation, administration, finance and where to from here.

The Wellington City Council staff team outlined their concept of a single tier structure and what they saw as the benefits while the Wairarapa, which is well down the track with its proposals, made clear that it would undertake formal consultation with the hope of putting forward a proposal to the Local Government Commission in February.

“The combined Hutt made clear they are against any change but if forced, their preference at this point was for a stand-lone unitary council for the Hutt Valley.

“Local Government New Zealand President Lawrence Yule congratulated all those present on the quality and openness of the discussions, saying he had not heard anything like it anywhere else in New Zealand.

“He made it very clear that doing nothing was not an option; that almost any one person or group could trigger an involvement of the Local Government Commission once the reform bill currently before Parliament becomes law. This was expected before Christmas.”

Press Release – Hutt City Council – November 21
Nine local government councils across the Wellington region re-committed today to a future local authority governance that would be in the best interests of the region.

In a meeting chaired by Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace, the future of local governance was robustly discussed and debated by the Zone Four Local Authority Forum.

“It was an extremely productive meeting. Various options were discussed ranging from a single Wellington regional authority, a two-tier system and unitary authorities.

“The various councils were asked to consider the views that were put forward and decide on the next steps.”

Mayor Wallace says the views expressed at today’s meeting emphasised the commitment each council has to ensuring the voice of the community is represented in any future decision on local authority governance for the region.

The Mayor’s sentiments were echoed by Lawrence Yule, President of Local Government New Zealand, who described the meeting as one of the best discussions about local governance he had seen.

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