What would happen to the arts scene in Wellington if we went the Auckland super-city way?
According to many leading Wellington arts groups, they would be better off.
Wellington City Council has agreed to contribute $594,000 to a regional amenities fund which is similar to a new Auckland arts organisation.
The fund will focus on arts, culture and environmental attractions and events.
About $910,000 is available now and it is hoped the fund will begin to be used from January.
But not all councils are getting on board.
Wellington City, Hutt, Upper Hutt, Kapiti Coast and Masterton councils are contributing. South Wairarapa, Carterton and Porirua councils have opted out.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said Porirua City Council did not think there was a compelling case for contributing to the fund.
"We didn't see a clear benefit to taxing Porirua residents for Wellington-run facilities at this stage," Mr Leggett said.
Alick Shaw, chairman of the board of Wellington Orchestra, said a super-city-type amalgamation would mean a bigger ratepayer base.
"A bigger council means bigger revenues, sharing costs of arts organisations," he said.
"I hope it would improve the ability of the councils to fund art organisations in general and the Wellington Orchestra."
Mr Shaw said the Wellington Orchestra received a fraction of what its sister organisations in Auckland and Christchurch received.
Wellington in that sense had been very much getting things on the cheap, he said.
The Wellington Orchestra receives some funding from various councils in the region.
"We do receive some funding, even as far afield as Wairarapa, but it's a very small amount."
Wellington Fringe Festival's Emma Giesen said the festival could also benefit from a combined council.
"We want to make Fringe more of a regional festival so it could be beneficial if the other councils come together," said Ms Giesen, who is the director of Fringe's Creative Capital Arts Trust.
She hoped getting more activities in regional areas would prompt those councils to contribute.
Amanda Skoog, managing director of Royal New Zealand Ballet, said an amalgamated council could be stronger.
"There is definitely strength in numbers," she said.
But she felt that under the ballet's present structure she did not expect individual support from councils outside Wellington city.
Ms Skoog said the ballet provided performances throughout the Wellington region, not just in the city.
Wellington City Council arts portfolio holder Ray Ahipene- Mercer said amalgamation could bring further development of the regional amenities fund.
He said that at present, with not all city councils contributing, "some councils benefit without contribution".
"With contributions from all the regional councils we would, like Auckland, have a bigger pool of money to attract arts, culture and events.
"We need to be in the same zone [as Auckland]," he said.
- The Wellingtonian