Date: 28 January 2015
A new information brochure has been produced to encourage and assist public submissions on the proposal for local government reorganisation in the Wellington region.
The Local Government Commission has produced the brochure as a quick-reference guide for people who want a brief summary of the main points to help prepare a submission. The Commission has supplied copies of the new brochure to councils for distribution at 36 council libraries in the region and posted a digital version on its website. Additional copies of the draft proposal itself have also been supplied to councils to make available for public inspection in libraries.
Commission Chief Executive Sandra Preston said the Commission is now in consultation mode and wants to encourage feedback.
“Public submissions can be as brief or as detailed as people want to make them,” Ms Preston said.
“The Commission wants to hear the views of the wider region and encourage people to participate. That means ratepayers, residents, community organisations, iwi and businesses, as well as the affected councils. The public submission process is a valuable part of the Commission’s engagement with the region.”
To date (28 January) the Commission has received 89 submissions. The closing date for submissions is 2 March 2015.
The new guide, along with a form for submissions and other relevant information, is on the Commission website: www.lgc.govt.nz – click the ‘media releases’ tab on the home page.
A new council, the Greater Wellington Council, is proposed. It would take over the functions of the existing nine councils: Masterton District Council; Carterton District Council; South Wairarapa District Council; Upper Hutt City Council; Hutt City Council; Wellington City Council; Porirua City Council; Kapiti Coast District Council, and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
The new council would have a shared decision-making structure. Power would be shared between the governing body (a mayor and 21 councillors) and 60 members of local boards. The mayor would
be elected by voters of greater Wellington. Councillors and local board members would be elected from eight defined geographic areas.
The mayor and councillors would be responsible for high-level decisions affecting all of Wellington. The local boards would control council budgets and decisions for local matters in established communities. Local boards would be created for Wairarapa; Upper Hutt; Lower Hutt; Kapiti Coast; Porirua-Tawa; Ohariu; Lambton; and Rongotai.
The proposal followed extensive consultation by the Commission during 2013-2014. It found many aspects of local government had worked well till now but that council structures also faced limitations, inadequacies and challenges in the future. It identified strong economic and cultural factors which inter-connect the region and give it a common future goal. It concluded there is a case for change.
The proposed council structure is designed to best meet the needs of the people of the entire region over the next 30 years. Wellington must address challenges of investment in infrastructure, changing demographics, the need for economic development, and management of the impact of natural hazards and climate change. These issues are regional in scale and require regional responses.