Supercity plans go head to head

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 09:52 19/11/2012
Map
Super plan: A possible supercity ward system included in a presentation by Wellington City staff, to Kapiti Coast District councillors. Kapiti would have three seats in a possible 29-seat council.

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More details from two competing super-city proposals have been revealed as the key suitors woo Kapiti Coast District Council.

On Thursday Kapiti councillors were briefed on amalgamation proposals in separate presentations by Wellington City, then Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua.

The briefings were not held in a public meeting but documents obtained by the Kapiti Observer show both camps are shaping proposals that could ultimately create a regional super-city.

Wellington City staff outlined a single council from Upper Hutt to Kapiti, with a possible 29 councillors and a single mayor elected at large.

In this model Kapiti would probably have three councillors from wards in the district.

A combined Porirua and Tawa would have four councillors, Wellington's suburbs would have 12, and Hutt Valley would have 10.

Wellington City's proposal would aim to unify the region with one table of decision-makers, and one chief executive.

A summary of the single-tier model said it would offer residents a chance to "engage directly" with a decision-maker with power and influence, who is directly accountable to them.

It agreed with aspects of the GWRC proposal but said its double layer of representation could be more complex and expensive.

Meanwhile, GWRC chairwoman Fran Wilde and Porirua mayor Nick Leggett were part of the presentation for their councils' two-tier proposal.

Documents from their presentation show possible fine-tuning of the Sir Geoffrey Palmer-chaired super-city panel ideas.

The review panel suggested an 11-member Greater Wellington council that holds the purse- strings for local councils around the region.

GWRC and Porirua comments on the proposal show they have a preference for a larger top-tier council, and smaller local councils.

They are generally supportive of the local council concept but would want "further analysis" on its exact functions.

The councils note that proposals to limit councillors to three terms, and to introduce four-year terms, are outside the scope of the process.

The presentations come in the lead-up to law changes that will ease amalgamation - allowing any individual or group to propose changes to the Local Government Commission.

A council hui will be held in Hutt on Friday, where elected members from around the region could throw their support behind one of the two main proposals.

Mayor Jenny Rowan said it was early days yet on the issue. "This will be on-going and will be added to the wider debate when it becomes available. This is a debate that should and will involve all of us. We will be consulting our residents before we come to a position."

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Ms Rowan said the government had made clear that doing nothing was not an option.

"This is an issue that we can't afford to ignore. It is one that we are best to help shape the outcome rather than eventually being told."

Kapiti's regional councillor Nigel Wilson supported his council's proposal - which he said was one of only two "viable" options, including Wellington City's, in the region.

"I thought the response was very positive. Kapiti council obviously are keeping an open mind."

He said the councils were making presentations to try to build "consensus" before Friday's hui.

- Kapiti Observer

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