Wellington Scoop

Palmer plan “will disempower Wellingtonians,” says Cr Pannett

Statement by Councillor Iona Pannett
“A super city as proposed by Geoffrey Palmer will disempower Wellingtonians,” said Green Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett after the release of the Palmer report into Wellington governance today.

With nearly half of the region’s population and the CBD at the heart of the region, it does not make sense that the proposed super city would only have four seats for Wellington City.

“The gutted Local Area Councils will also have little say in the decision making process given it is the super Council that will make all the strategic decisions and rate for the whole region. Smaller areas like Kapiti and the Wairarapa will also lose out under this model,” said Cr. Pannett.

The report constrained by artificial political deadlines is disappointing in its depth, only generating a little over 200 submissions, with no options analysis, little reference to overseas experience and fails to explain how a change in the governance model will generate the changes needed to grow jobs and to create a sustainable environment.

Further, the most robust analysis that has yet been carried out through this process has not been given adequate weight. A poll of 3,000 Wellingtonians gave a clear message that the status quo is the preferred model. This seems to have been forgotten in the rush to change. Status quo is still an option,” said Cr Pannett.

“The process by which the report was generated is a reminder of why there is a need for a binding poll on the future of the region. Politicians must not make the call on governance, this must be dictated by Wellingtonians,” said Cr Pannett.

“There are further problems with the proposed structure. The model prioritises governance over representation work by Councillors. The heavy workload demanded by being on a super council will leave little time to engage with constituents. It is clear that some politicians don’t want to engage with their communities locally and this model will support this approach,” said Cr Pannett.

It will also concentrate power in the hands of a wealthy elite,” said Cr Pannett. “The only people likely to be elected will be people with large wallets and high profile.

Cr Pannett said however that she was pleased on one ground which is that the STV voting system is promoted as the best system to elect a super council.