Kāpiti’s mayor and councillors can breathe easier following the report by the Local Government Review Panel which says the KCDC, and five other councils, should be retained.
The Review Panel led by Sir Geoffrey Palmer has rejected the Auckland ‘Super City’ model. It recommends a new Greater Wellington Council, led by a Lord Mayor elected by the region, and six Local Area Councils.
It says this will give stronger regional leadership and local democracy.
“The Wellington region needs a revised local government structure that provides stronger regional leadership and more inclusive local democracy,” says the Wellington
Region Review Panel.
Lord Mayor proposed
In its final report troday, the Panel recommends that a new Greater Wellington Council be established, led by a Lord Mayor elected by the region, and six
Local Area Councils, to manage local issues and maintain strong democracy at a community level.
“The gaps identified in the Wellington region flow from things that are not being done or cannot be done effectively under the present structure of local government silos. There
are important functions that need to be planned, performed and delivered at a regional level,” Panel chair Sir Geoffrey Palmer says.
Sir Geoffrey says the new structure is ‘no Super City’ but is focused on addressing the duplication, inefficiencies and lack of coordination in the Wellington region’s current
local governance arrangements.
“This is not an Auckland model. What we have fashioned is a model for the region, based on geography and conditions and designed to address the deficiencies that currently
exist here,” he says.
28 fewer mayors and councillors
There are currently 107 elected mayors and councillors in the Wellington region. The Panel’s recommendation would result in 28 fewer mayors and councillors, and reducing
the number of chief executives in the region from nine to one.
“The new structure responds directly to the needs of individual communities and the wider pressures facing the region. The Panel firmly believes that demand for world-class
infrastructure including airports, ports, roads, buses, trains, and cycleways, requires a well-organised regional approach.” Sir Geoffrey says.
The report states: “There is a vital need to develop regional strategies with a long-term commitment to regional delivery and to avoid multiple and uncoordinated approaches to
infrastructure planning. Integration between transport and land use planning is particularly critical”.
Sir Geoffrey says the Panel has explicitly rejected the so-called ‘Brisbane’ option because it would fail to address the issues that the citizens and ratepayers of the region had
“The Panel is of the view that a Brisbane-type of solution ( an amalgamation of the whole area) would not meet the
requirements of the political culture in this region.
An amalgamation of the area into one City would involve what the Panel considers to be a triple weakness: Anintolerable loss of local democracy; a fracturing of local sense of community; and the absence of a regional perspective for the entire region,” says Sir Geoffrey.
Instead, the Panel has recommended a change to an integrated two-tier local governance structure:
1. A regional decision-making body named the Greater Wellington Council, led by a
Lord Mayor (elected by the whole region), and 10 councillors, representing
constituencies based on the current territorial boundaries.
The proposed distribution of seats is:
• Lord Mayor, elected at large 1
• Central Wellington 4
• Lower Hutt 2
• Upper Hutt 1
• Porirua 1
• Kapiti 1
• Wairarapa 1
2. A local tier of decision making in the form of six Local Area Councils, using the same boundaries as exist now, except for Wairarapa, where the three councils
would combine into one. The six new Local Area Councils would be responsible for local engagement and advocacy, improving local amenity and design, managing local community facilities and parks, and the delivery of quality local services. Each Local Area would retain a mayoral figurehead, elected by their councillor peers.
The six new Local Area Councils would be responsible for local engagement and advocacy, improving local amenity and design, managing local community facilities and parks, and the delivery of quality local services. Each Local Area would retain a mayoral figurehead, elected by their councillor peers.
Other recommendations include:
- . A single rating system administered by the Greater Wellington Council
- . Rates increases restricted for three years, with no increases beyond those necessary to pay for already committed works and to give time for the new rating system to be properly designed and consulted upon
- . All councillors at all levels would be eligible for no more than three terms of four years each, after which they would be required to stand down
Sir Geoffrey says the new structure should help halt the decline of the region.
“The Wellington region seems to have lost its way in recent years. A decade ago, the
Wellington region was recognised as being at the forefront of governance, vision and
place – with new development initiatives, including the Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Waterfront, Te Papa, Pataka, the Dowse and Expressions.” Sir Geoffrey says.
“We had forward-thinking planning and urban design approaches – award-winning village planning and main street upgrades. We saw new cultural events and innovative
marketing – Martinborough wine, Absolutely Positively Wellington, the Sevens and the World of Wearable Art.
There was the foundation of a new and exciting film industry in Miramar. Today, there is a feeling that the region is living on these past glories,” he says.
Sir Geoffrey says the Panel’s recommendations reflects the feedback it has received through public meetings, the submission process and meetings with stakeholders,
including territorial local authorities.
The Panel has undertaken public meetings throughout the region and received more than 230 submissions. The Panel met with all nine councils over the period of
consultation and was given access to submissions received by those councils in their separate consultation process.
The Panel also consulted carefully on how Maori issues and engagement can best beserved.
The Panel’s final report will now be considered by Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council as part of their response to a signal from central government
that it is intending to make changes to the Local Government Act 2002 on how local government operates and manages its business
Wellington Region Local Government Review Panel
The Wellington Local Government Review Panel was set up in May 2012 by Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council to examine existing local
government arrangements in the Wellington region.
Panel members were Sir Geoffrey Palmer (Chair), Sir Wira Gardiner, Sue Driver and Bryan Jackson.
The Panel was asked to deliver a report to the commissioning councils by the end of
October 2012. The report was expected to:
• Assess possible local government options for the Wellington region and identify an optimal one, which may include either structural and/or functional changes
• Contain a description of the preferred model and how it would operate, including
levels of decision-making, functions, governance arrangements and a proposed
approach to financial arrangements concerning rates/other revenue, debt and
. Be used by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council to
form the basis of a submission for reorganisation to the Local Government
The Panel developed and issued an Issues Paper in July 2012 that outlined the
opportunities and challenges for the region, including how changes in demographics
would likely impact the region, the role of local government in fostering cultural identity
and community character, the challenges faced by local government in delivering costly
and complex and in providing local and regional facilities and amenities.
As part of its engagement with the region’s citizens and ratepayers, the Panel has
undertaken public meetings and received 234 submissions. The Panel also met with all
eight territorial authorities over the period of engagement and were given access to
submissions received by territorial authorities in their separate consultation process.
In coming to its conclusions, the Panel wanted to ensure its recommendations met the
different needs of Wellington’s regional, rural and urban communities and would
strengthen the ability of the region to meet future challenges.
The final report was delivered to the commissioning councils on 30 October 2012.