Wellington Scoop

77% want changes in local government; support for two councils instead of nine

The Wellington City Council has released details of the 1209 submissions which it has received expressing opinions on local government reform. A majority – 77 per cent – agree there should be changes. But there’s diversity on the four options for change – 296 people want to merge all nine existing councils into two new bodies, one of which would represent the Wairarapa; 252 want all councils to remain, but with greater use of shared services; and 234 want one council for the entire region. (The first and third choices would involve abolishing the regional council.) Least popular is the idea of three instead of nine councils – only 147 chose this option.

News from Wellington City Council
Two strong schools of thought are apparent from the initial analysis of 1,209 submissions to the Wellington City Council on the question of local government reform in the region.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the submissions show opinions from submitters are fairly evenly divided between people who want local-authority ‘status quo’ and those who want various levels of regional amalgamation.

She says, however, that this is the first real attempt to gauge public opinion – and a Colmar Brunton regional survey currently under way, and public hearings later this month and in early August will provide clarity on broader community perspectives.

An initial analysis of the submissions shows that when asked if they wanted change or no change:

77% of respondents said they want some change
23% said no change

Of the submitters that chose an option for governance changes:

25% (252) chose Option 1 – all existing councils remain the same – but move towards greater use of ‘shared services’ and improve the ways they work with each other.

15% (147) chose Option 2 – merge the nine existing councils into three bigger councils:

Wellington Capital and Coast Council – combining Wellington City, Porirua City and, possibly, Kapiti Coast District
Hutt Valley Council – combining Hutt and Upper Hutt cities
Wairarapa Council – combining the three councils in the Wairarapa.

Greater Wellington Regional Council would be abolished.

30% (296) chose Option 3 – merge all existing councils into two big councils:

Wellington Council – combining Wellington City, Porirua, Hutt and Upper Hutt cities and, possibly, Kapiti Coast District
Wairarapa Council – combining the three councils in the Wairarapa.

Again, the regional council would be abolished.

23% (234) chose Option 4 – merge all existing councils into one council for the whole region, including the Wairarapa, with 10 local boards elected to look after ‘local’ services.

Another 7% (68) of respondents said there should be another choice of option.

Mayor Wade-Brown says she has seen the issues paper released yesterday by the Panel established by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

“I am pleased to see the options on which we’ve just concluded consultation have been incorporated into their thinking.

“We sought to identify how Wellington residents and others throughout the region responded to proposals for what local government could look like in future. The Panel has clearly considered those options and drawn them in – which we welcome.

“As we draw together information from thousands of residents throughout the region, we will obviously continue to work with all the other councils to develop a more detailed proposal that reflects what residents wish to see as well as what will be best for us here in Wellington.

“We recognise the Panel’s contribution to this debate and look forward to their ongoing support for a broad process of consultation.”

Councillor Paul Eagle, the City Council’s Community Engagement Portfolio Leader, says the random phone survey of 3,300 people across the region by Colmar Brunton is now under way to get further data on opinions on local government change. The survey was commissioned by Wellington City together with all of the territorial local authorities in the region.

He says the results of both the submissions and the survey will be analysed and made publicly available in August. Meanwhile, more than 70 individuals have indicated they want to speak at hearings held by Wellington City Council late this month ad early next month.

Councillors will consider a report about a way forward on governance for the city and region in late August, and will also be talking to the Panel chaired by Sir Geoffrey Palmer once the Council has had the opportunity to consider what the community has had to say on the issue.


  1. fender, 22. July 2012, 14:51

    1209 submissions sadly reflects the apathy in Greater Wellington. Considering this was a form delivered to letterboxes and not requiring a stamp for return, I’m shocked so few people took the opportunity to contribute.

  2. Richard, 23. July 2012, 12:53

    With a lack of clarity (on the supercity ), and our history of local govt ignoring public submissions and you’re really surprised at the ratepayers’ alleged lack of submissions on this govt agenda fender?
    Palmer’s panel is reforming local govt!
    I am sceptical of the reported support for central govt interference in local govt.
    It’s madness to spend so much time and energy on reforming local govt (instead of fixing only that which does not work).

  3. Sir Lancealot, 31. July 2012, 17:22

    After making a submission to try to stop the supercity, I received a letter from the Regional Council’s David Benham telling me:
    1)Rates 2012/13 will increase by 6-5%
    2)The Regional Council focus is ideas such as “commercialisation of innovation”(?!).and “open for business”(!?).
    Zealandia is good for conservation. But that very same thinking and investment on further development was a costly mistake – a lesson that has clearly not been learnt.

    3)Sale of land, sale of forestry cutting rights, the privatized management of land in Belmont regional park and yet more insanity regarding “earthquake risk” .
    Oh yeah and the council wants new premises.
    The cherry on the top was the issue of the legality of fluoride in the Wellington region’s drinking water.

    It was a letter saying we’ll do what we want and we don’t care about your submission.

  4. Sir Lancealot, 4. August 2012, 9:07

    Harvard study for you to read and send to your legal advisor GWRC:


    As for the substance of the long term draft, I am still waiting for the omitted basis.