Wairarapa's three councils could merge under a proposal put forward by all three local bodies.
A working party representing South Wairarapa, Carterton and Masterton district councils is proposing a single Wairarapa Council with an elected Wairarapa mayor, 12 councillors and five community boards.
In a joint statement released this morning, the region's three Mayors Adrienne Staples, Ron Mark and Garry Daniell said the proposal was a ''vastly different approach to democracy'' than the single Wellington council recommended by the Wellington Review Panel.
The panel, appointed by Greater Wellington regional council and Porirua City Council, and headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, proposed that Wairarapa would have a single councillor on a Wellington-based council and become one of six constituencies under the single council.
The Wairarapa working party has previously called Sir Geoffrey's proposal ''patronising''.
"In considering the options the working party has listened to feedback from Wairarapa people who favour a single Wairarapa council and have been very clear that they do not want to be governed from Wellington," the statement said.
"Wairarapa now needs to decide whether it wants to elect its own mayor, councillors and community boards to govern Wairarapa's planning, assets, finances and services; or transfer all of that to Wellington and replace it with one Wairarapa representative on the decision-making body."
Under the proposal, Wairarapa councillors would be elected from seven wards - five from Masterton, two from Carterton, one each from Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough; plus two rural wards with one councillor each.
Current ward boundaries for Masterton urban, Martinborough, Greytown and Featherston would be retained. The existing Carterton urban, Carterton rural and Masterton rural wards would be replaced with one Carterton ward and two rural wards.
The three existing community boards in Martinborough, Featherston and Greytown would be retained with five instead of six members. Community boards for Carterton and Masterton would be established with six and seven members respectively.
After a hui with all Wellington and Wairarapa councils on November 21, the working party will present final recommendations to individual Wairarapa councils, which would then consult with Wairarapa people.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Would you support your local council paying the 'living wage'?Related story: Council's living wage blowout