Press Release – Wellington City Council
The Strategy and Policy Committee today 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 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 four 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) 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.
Press Release – Kapiti Coast District Council
The Kapiti Coast District Council has agreed to consult residents on three options over the future possible shape of local government across the region. At an extra council meeting today, councillors voted unanimously to support two options for consultation put forward by a special Working Party on local government reform. They added a third – to consult on maintaining the status quo.
The Working Party comprised representatives from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council and the Kapiti Coast District Council.
The Working Party recommended two options for consultation. One would involve a two tier unitary authority for the region with a governing council and local boards and the other a single tier structure.
Both options could include the Wairarapa local authorities if they wished to join.
“We need to emphasise that the decision today is only to consult on the three options. Council has not made a decision on a preference.
“We are very keen at this stage to obtain the views of residents. We need them to tell us what they want. That is the stage we are at,” said Mayor Jenny Rowan.
Porirua City has already voted to consult on the Working Party’s recommendations. Wellington City was due to debate the issue today and Greater Wellington will consider the recommendations on March 20.
“This is a very significant issue, potentially the biggest potential change to our local government structures since 1989. We need residents to inform themselves on the issues at stake so they can tell us what their preference is.”
Mayor Rowan said a special website was planned to open on March 21 where people could go for information. A flyer was planned along with radio and print advertising. Information was already on the Council website but this would be expanded shortly.
A random telephone survey of more than 1000 Kapiti residents was planned, and public meetings were being organised.
“Feedback collected by participating councils will be brought together and analysed so a decision can be made on what sort of proposition can be put to the Local Government Commission. We hope to do this by the end of May,” said Mayor Rowan.
It would then be up to the Local Government Commission to put a formal proposal together for public consideration.