Wellington super-city vote this week

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 13:08 10/06/2013

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Greater Wellington Regional Council will vote this week to ask central government for a two-tier Wellington super-city.

The two-tier model comprises a 22-member Wellington Council, consisting of a mayor elected at large and councillors elected on a ward basis, overseeing eight local boards of up to nine members each.

It would replace the region’s nine councils, including the three Wairarapa councils, which have already asked the Local Government Commission to merge them into a single unitary authority.

Greater Wellington chairwoman Fran Wilde said it was important the Wairarapa continued to be part of Wellington.

“We believe a Wairarapa unitary would have to overcome major challenges, both in terms of the funding of infrastructure and services, and the specialist staff required to carry out the functions,” she said.

“Such factors suggest that Wairarapa’s future may be negatively impacted if it were governed by a small unitary authority rather than being included as part of a single unitary council for the wider region.”

A draft application for a two-tier super-city has been prepared by Greater Wellington. If councillors endorse it on Wednesday then it will be presented to the commission along with the Wairarapa proposal and Wellington City Council’s request for a single-tier, 29-member council.

Wairarapa does not feature in Wellington City Council’s super-city plans. Its councillors have voted to support to support the Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district council’s in their bid for freedom.

Kapiti Coast District Council recently voted to maintain existing council boundaries with the exception of the three Wairarapa councils, which it also supports.

The two Hutt Valley councils are currently seeking public feedback on three options — a united Hutt Valley council, a region-wide super-city or no change at all.

The Greater Wellington proposal would see region-wide strategic decisions made by the Wellington Council and decisions on local issues, activities and facilities made by the local boards.

Those boards would be allocated funding through the annual plan process.

The final decision on what happens will be made by the Local Government Commission, in consultation with the general public. That is not expected to happen until late next year.

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- The Dominion Post

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