Press Release – Working Party on Local Govt Reform – Wellington
Almost 2000 submissions have been received by the four Wellington councils consulting on possible change to the region’s local government, demonstrating support for change.
The Local Government Reform Working Party, representing Greater Wellington Region, Wellington City, Porirua City and Kapiti Coast District Councils consulted on two models for change against the status quo.
Both models for change proposed a single council for the region, which may or may not include Wairarapa. One of the models consulted on had a single tier of representation – a mayor and up to 29 councillors – while the other had a mayor and fewer councillors in the first tier – up to 21 – but a second tier of up to eight local boards. The alternative was the status quo.
Chair of the Working Party, Ken Douglas says he is pleased with both the number and quality of the submissions.
“Whether or not people supported change or had a preference for one of the models, many had taken time to acquaint themselves with the options. That resulted in some well thought-out submissions and has provided us with valuable feedback,” he says.
The Working Party received 1,892 submissions in total. Of these 1,230 were long form submissions, including online. The rest were (330) short form submissions and (332) general comments.
Mr Douglas says that of the 1560 form submissions (long and short), when asked about the need for change, 60% agreed there was a need to change.
Of the 1560 form submissions (long and short), when asked about the two models for change (one tier or two tier), 52% indicated support for two tier (single council with local boards) and 27% for one tier (single council). 18% did not respond.
“The principal reason why supporters of change were in favour of a single council model was that they believed it would result in a better quality of decision making and a clearer vision and agenda (as opposed to competing agendas) for the region,” he says.
“Comments included in general submissions have not been included in statistical data as they generally do not match the questions asked in the long or short form. However the comments are captured in the report that has been presented to the Working Party.”
Mr Douglas says there were a variety of views regarding Wairarapa
“Of the 1,230 long form submissions, when asked if Wairarapa should be included in a council for the region, 44% responded that Wairarapa should not be included, 33% said it should be included and 22% did not know.
“Of those who did not know, the majority of submissions either said they did not know enough about the Wairarapa and its needs to make an informed decision, or it should be up to the citizens of Wairarapa to decide.
“However Wairarapa residents hold a more decisive position on this issue than others in the region,” Mr Douglas says.
“Of the 396 Wairarapa responses across all forms, under 1% provided a ‘don’t know’ response. Of the total who completed the long submission form, 87% were in favour of Wairarapa’s inclusion in a council for the region.
“Of the 330 short form submissions, when asked if Wairarapa is part of the Wellington region, 52% said no, 37% said yes and 29% did not know.”
The 1,892 submissions were made from across the region, with 41% from Wellington City, 21% from Wairarapa,13% from Lower Hutt, 9% from Porirua, 7% from Kapiti Coast and 5% from Upper Hutt. The remainder either did not answer the question or lived outside the region
Consultation was open for six weeks and included 18 public meetings held around the region.
Kapiti Coast, Porirua and Wellington City councils are also conducting independent surveys and will release their results when they are finalised.
The four councils will meet separately over the next few weeks to decide whether or not to make a application to the Local Government Commission.