Wellington Scoop

Nick and Fran aligned: Porirua supports two-tier one-council plan for region

News from Porirua City Council
The Porirua City Council agreed tonight to support Greater Wellington Regional Council’s application to the Local Government Commission for a two-tier one council model for the Wellington region, but with a different view on Wairarapa.

Porirua will provide a letter of support to Greater Wellington for the two-tier model, with the caveat that the Local Government Commission is best placed to make the final decision on the form of local government in Wairarapa.

“We’ve been an active participant and leader in the process from the start,” says Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett. “We’ve been in partnership with GWRC, and played a sizable role in the earlier Palmer Report and the recent Working Party upon which Greater Wellington’s application has been developed. Given we share largely the same views, it makes sense to support Greater Wellington than to prepare a separate application that differs on one point.”

“The Porirua City Council recognises that change is on the horizon for the Wellington region and we believe we’ve chosen the most democratic and effective model for change. The two-tier model allows communities to still be informed and to influence decisions that impact on them at a local level while also allowing more effective decisions to be made on issues of regional interest such as infrastructure, planning, economic development, rating and catchment and environment protection.”

Feedback so far, from surveys and submissions, has shown general support for change. Among the options canvassed including no change; the preference was for a single council with two tiers.

Any decision to alter the structure of local government in the region will be that of the Local Government Commission. Applications for reorganisation accepted by the Commission trigger a detailed statutory process, likely to include consideration of the status quo, alternatives, discussions with affected parties, preparation of a preferred draft proposal and public consultation, submissions and hearings.

A final reorganisation proposal from the Commission could result in a community poll demanded by electors of an affected area to determine whether or not the proposal is to proceed, says Mayor Leggett.

“We’ve still got a way to go in the process but once the Local Government Commission makes its recommendation, following consultation with communities, PCC wants every voter in the Wellington region to have the final say, by way of a referendum, before a final decision is made.”