Aiming to be inclusive and decisive, mayor creates 4 new committees for council

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown’s new committee structure for the Wellington City Council has been released today. The mayor says the new structure is designed to be inclusive at both a political and community level, and will facilitate quality decision making.

In place of the old wide-ranging strategy and planning committee, she has created a more-focused governance, finance and planning committee, to be chaired by deputy mayor Justin Lester. All councillors are members, including the mayor.

Four more new committees are being set up, each with seven councillors (plus the mayor) as members.

A committee for economic growth and arts will be chaired by Jo Coughlan, with Simon Marsh as her deputy. Before the election, Councillor Coughlan was leader of the council’s economic portfolio.

Andy Foster retains his involvement with transport, as chair of a transport and urban development committee.

Paul Eagle is to chair a committee for community, sports and recreation.

Iona Pannett is to chair an environment committee.

Helene Ritchie is leader of the natural environment portfolio, with new councillor David Lee leading the new climate change portfolio.

Iona Pannett is appointed as leader of the buildings portfolio, and new councillor Nicola Young is leader of a central city projects portfolio, another new category.

The small medium enterprise and and tertiary liaison portfolio is to be led by Simon Marsh.

Ray Ahipene-Mercer is again appointed as arts portfolio leader.

New councillor Malcolm Sparrow leads a new portfolio titled community resilience.

New councillor (and former MP) Mark Peck is named as chair of the audit and risk subcommittee.

The mayor says the new governance and decision making structure takes the following key principles into consideration:

Inclusiveness of councillors

Efficiency of decision making

Strategic and integrated decision making

Informed decision making

Decision taken once

Public participation




“The Council structure ensures that elected members are empowered to maximise their contribution to advancing the growth and well-being of Wellington. It is designed to ensure that decisions are made as decisively as possible while ensuring that every decision is well informed by our communities,” says the mayor.

No one has yet been named as transport portfolio leader – this role was handled by Andy Foster in the old council. His role as chair of the transport committee indicates no change. And no one has been named as economic portfolio leader, which was Jo Coughlan’s responsibility last time. However her position as chair of the economic growth committee also seems to indicate no change. Except for the absence of the two portfolio leader titles.

News from WCC
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the new committee structure for the Wellington City Council will drive the agenda and provide a sharper focus on the key issues for Wellington. The four new subject-based committees give a focus on pressing issues for Wellington, of good economic growth, access to community facilities, affordable housing, smart urban development and protection of our natural and built heritage.

“The new committee structure provides a great opportunity for our Councillors to focus on opportunities and challenges facing the Capital,” said the Mayor. “This term’s Councillors have considerable experience and knowledge on a wide range of issues, combined with enthusiasm for the city and their role. All have much to offer, and all are keen to get on with the job.

“Under this new arrangement, that experience can be focused more sharply to provide streamlined leadership on the issues that affect Wellingtonians.”

“The new ‘committee of the whole’ Governance Finance and Planning, chaired by Deputy Mayor Justin Lester, allows all Councillors to guide the important financial and planning decisions for the city.”

There are portfolio leaders within each committee, working with the chair as the overall leader of each area. Appointments to the boards and trusts of CCOs (not remunerated), will made in November.

“As circumstances evolve there may also be working parties, liaison groups and potentially further portfolios,” says the Mayor. “Committee work is only one aspect of Council and I’m encouraging elected members to fully connect with their citizens and businesses, both formally and informally.”

The new committee structure, chairs and members, and comment by committee chairs follow.

Economy and Arts:
Chair Jo Coughlan, Deputy Simon Marsh
Portfolio Leader, Arts: Ray Ahipene-Mercer
Portfolio Leader, Small Medium Enterprise and Tertiary Liaison: Simon Marsh
Members: Paul Eagle, Justin Lester, Mark Peck, Nicola Young

“Wellington has enormous potential,” says Cr Coughlan. “This committee is charged with growing the Wellington economy through attracting talent and investment to the Capital, promoting our opportunities, fostering economic collaboration and growing our arts and events sector.”

The Economy and Arts Committee will focus on delivering sustainable long-term economic growth for the city, promote the city’s visitor attractions, deliver high-quality events and support the development of smart businesses in the city. The Committee will also work to build Wellington’s unique identity, raise the city’s international profile, and ensure Wellington continues to be New Zealand’s arts and culture capital by supporting a range of opportunities for entertainment and expression.

Community, Sport and Recreation:
Chair: Paul Eagle
Portfolio Leader, Community Resilience: Malcolm Sparrow
Members: Sarah Free, Simon Marsh, Mark Peck, Helene Ritchie, Simon Woolf

The focus of the Community, Sport and Recreation Committee is to build strong, safe, healthy communities for a better quality of life. It will be responsible for social infrastructure, social cohesion, encourage healthy lifestyles, support local community events, protect public safety, and provide a wide range of recreation facilities for residents to use and enjoy.

“This committee guides our frontline community services, caring for our vulnerable citizens, maintaining excellent social housing and promoting the importance of sport and recreation to maintain a great quality of life,” said Cr Eagle. “A key focus is to acknowledge the importance and uniqueness of our Maori connections and ethnic diversity.”

Chair: Iona Pannett
Portfolio Leader, Natural Environment: Helene Ritchie
Portfolio Leader, Climate Change: David Lee
Members: Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Andy Foster, Sarah Free, Malcolm Sparrow

“This committee’s job is to protect and enhance Wellington’s environment which makes it such a great place to live, work and play,” said Cr Pannett. “Enhancing our distinctive built form, supporting our superb natural environment and climate change are key priorities.”

The Environment Committee will focus on enhancing the city’s open spaces, protecting distinctive plant, bird and animal life, and ensuring there are high quality outdoor areas for residents and visitors to enjoy. The Committee will also look after water and waste services to protect the city’s environment and residents’ health.

Transport and Urban Development:
Chair: Andy Foster
Portfolio Leader, Buildings: Iona Pannett
Portfolio Leader, Central City Projects: Nicola Young
Members: Jo Coughlan, David Lee, Justin Lester, Simon Woolf

“Urban Development is about the shape of our city, it’s the compactness and sustainable urban design, it’s what makes our city work so well,” says Cr Foster. “Whether we walk, cycle, drive or use public transport we all use the transport system, and I’m looking forward to meeting the key challenges and opportunities in this area.”

The focus of the Transport and Urban Development Committee is to direct growth to where the benefits are greatest and where adverse effects are minimised, and to deliver a quality compact urban environment. It will also focus on providing a safe, efficient and sustainable transport system that supports Wellington’s economy and adds to residents’ quality of life.

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