Wairarapa's three councils on track to be merged into one super-council

Carterton Mayor John Booth, South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier, centre, and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson have all made ...
PIERS FULLER/FAIRFAX NZ

Carterton Mayor John Booth, South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier, centre, and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson have all made positive noises about the merger proposal, despite the fact two of them could lose their jobs.

After the fizzer that was the Wellington super-city proposal, the three councils that make up the Wairarapa look set to become one.

The Local Government Commission has published a draft proposal to combine Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils, after its inquiries found there was a public mandate for change.

The new council would be made up of a mayor, elected by Wairarapa district voters, and 12 councillors elected from seven wards, including two rural ones.

Five community boards will also be created for Featherston, Martinborough, Greytown, Carterton and Masterton, comprising 21 members in total.

READ MORE:
* Super-city scrapped due to lack of support
* Will Auckland super-city survive?
* OPINION: What will LGC do next?

With a total population of about 43,600, the proposed Wairarapa District Council would be similar to those of Timaru, Marlborough, Whanganui or Upper Hutt. 

With a land area of 5936 square kilometres, the new Wairarapa District Council would be similar
in size to Hastings, ...
ILLYA MCLELLAN/FAIRFAX NZ

With a land area of 5936 square kilometres, the new Wairarapa District Council would be similar in size to Hastings, Taupo or Clutha councils.

Joining the three councils together is expected to save $31 million over the first 10 years, but the process of doing so will cost $21m, leaving Wairarapa $10m to the good over the next decade.

It would take two years before the savings began to outweigh the costs.

The commission has proposed to keep current rating arrangements in place until the new council and the community have had a chance to consider any changes.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said there was no public appetite for amalgamations in Wellington.
MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said there was no public appetite for amalgamations in Wellington.

If rates changed as a result of the merger, the change would be capped at 5 per cent, up or down, each year. The cap would remain in force until 2024.

Ad Feedback

Wairarapa would remain part of the Wellington region, meaning residents would still pay rates to Greater Wellington Regional Council as well.

The public will decide whether all this goes ahead. Feedback will be sought and a Wairarapa-wide referendum will be held if 10 per cent or more electors in either South Wairarapa, Carterton or Masterton sign a petition calling for one.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said it was important for Porirua to keep its own identity.
CAMERON BURNELL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said it was important for Porirua to keep its own identity.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier said there was a more positive feeling about this merger than about plans to combine all nine councils across the Wellington region into a super-city, which was scrapped because it had little public support.

"We're more in control of our own destiny, rather than getting sucked up by big brother, like it was under the super-city," she said.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the proposed council had good rural and urban representation from Martinborough to Masterton.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said there had been no discussions about any possible merger with Lower Hutt.
COLIN WILLIAMS/ FAIRFAX NZ

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said there had been no discussions about any possible merger with Lower Hutt.

But it could meet opposition from smaller areas, which did not want to be swallowed up.

Carterton Mayor John Booth said it was a good thing the final decision was in the hands of the public.

Regional council chairman Chris Laidlaw said the only change to its organisation would be the addition of a 10-member Wairarapa committee.

Greater Wellington Regional Council chairman Chris Laidlaw. Wairarapa originally asked to be cut free from the regional ...
MONIQUE FORD/ FAIRFAX NZ

Greater Wellington Regional Council chairman Chris Laidlaw. Wairarapa originally asked to be cut free from the regional council, but under the latest proposal it will continue to be part of it.

Regional rates would not be affected, he said.

If approved, the Wairarapa District Council could see its first election in late 2018, serving an initial four-year term before reverting to a three-year cycle.

NO MORE WELLINGTON MERGERS

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he did not expect the Wairarapa proposal to reignite debate over a Wellington-Porirua merger.

"There is no public appetite for it.," he said.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana agreed it was important for Porirua to keep its own identity. "Given that Justin is quite strongly against having that [merger] conversation, we can assume cold water has been poured on that idea."

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said any decision on whether his council combined with Hutt City Council was ultimately up to the public, but there had been no discussions about such a move.

"It's not about individual councils, it's about us working together where we can to benefit the whole Wellington region."

THE PROS

* About $10 million in net savings over 10 years.

* One set of council rules, processes and fees across Wairarapa

* Stronger, more united voice for the community as a whole

* Easier and cheaper for companies and community groups to do business

* Simplified council decision-making

* More effective at delivering infrastructure

THE CONS

* Fewer councillors per resident than now

* Reduced Wairarapa representation on regional committees and forums

* Transition costs would outweigh the savings from merging for the first two years

* Could affect council productivity

* Uncertain future for some council staff

THE PROCESS SO FAR

May 2013: The three Wairarapa councils ask the commission to merge them into a single council, and end the regional council's influence in Wairarapa.

June 2013: Greater Wellington Regional Council asks the commission to merge the nine councils across Wellington, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Kapiti and Wairarapa into one super-council.

June 2015: Commission decides not to proceed with a Wellington super-city, but to discuss other options for change.

February-June 2016: Commission develops six options for local government change in Wairarapa and gathers public opinion.

July 2016: Feedback reveals a majority of people prefer a combined Wairarapa District Council

March 2017: Commission releases draft proposal for combined council and calls for submissions.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

May 3: Closing date for submissions

May 23: Hearings begin

July-November: Commission decides whether or not to proceed with a final proposal for merger.

November 2017-April 2018: Referendum on final proposal (if sought)

Mid 2018: If new council is approved, a transition body will be formed with representatives of the three current councils

October 2018: Potential first election of the new council.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Fatal Northland crash

The crash occurred on Kapiro Road, north of Kerikeri.

A crash involving a car and a motorbike in Kerikeri has left one person dead.

'Phantom' to remain jailed

Loizos Michaels, pictured before being sent to prison. He has been decline parole twice.

A conman who calls himself 'The Phantom' and once duped Jonah Lomu has been denied parole.

Thousands gather in Auckland

The Anzac service at the Auckland War Memorial on Anzac Day 2017.

A crisp, clear morning greeted thousands of Aucklanders at the War Memorial Museum Anzac Day service.

One house but two homes video

The house is designed with two distinct "wings" to give each couple their own space. The only shared space is the foyer.

Buying a first home in Auckland's Grey Lynn was little more than a dream for two young couples - until they pooled their resources.

Wellington

Services draws thousands video

Willie Apiata greets a soldier with a hongi during the Anzac Day National Commemoration Service at Pukeahu National War ...

Thousands stood in silence in remembrance of those who have fought under the Anzac banner.

Crook denied parole 

Kelly Leigh Crook was jailed for her role in the murder of Matt Stevens, which she helped attempt to cover up by faking ...

Kelly Leigh Crook lured a man to a deadly ambush then attempted to cover up murder by faking a car crash scene.

Protest mars service video

Newshub was interviewing peace activists Ellie Clayton and Laura Drew when they were interrupted by David Broome, and ...

"Do it tomorrow, do it the day before - but today is wrong, wrong, wrong." Father and son clash with peace activists.

Rentals smelly, musty and mouldy

Rental homes are more than twice as likely to have poorly maintained features than owner-occupied buildings, according ...

Rental homes are twice as likely to smell musty, and three times more likely to feel damp.

Canterbury

Wreath behind locked gates video

Jim Lilley, left, Allan Luchford and Cathy Luchford lay their poppies at the Christchurch Citizens' War Memorial.

The Christchurch Citizens' War Memorial has been off limits for six years. But this Anzac Day is different.

Climbers' bodies found

The bodies were found in the Darren Mountains.

The bodies two missing people have been recovered in Fiordland.

River surges to life

Sarah McCall and her family stand on the banks of the Eyre River, normally a dry riverbed, which surged to life on Good ...

"I don't know how it's doing that; I think someone's filling it up," 6-year-old Ruby McCall suggests.

Rentals smelly, musty and mouldy

Rental homes are more than twice as likely to have poorly maintained features than owner-occupied buildings, according ...

Rental homes are twice as likely to smell musty, and three times more likely to feel damp.

Waikato

'Today means everything to me'

The Anzac dawn service attracted thousands to Hamilton's Memorial Park.

It's the one day the world remembers yet every day reminds this family of the price of war.

Body found in bush

Thames

A hunter alerted police to the grim find just after 1pm on Anzac Day.

Five hurt in highway crash

Emergency services are at the scene (file photo).

Two people suffered moderate injuries - three others got away with scrapes and bruises.

Stolen war medals come home

Sam Healy and daughter Jorji, 9, are reunited with their family's war medals.

A year ago thieves stole Sam Healy's grandfather's war medals. On Anzac Day eve, she got them back.

Taranaki

Teen to take on snooker's best

New Plymouth's Mario Hildred, 16, in preparing to take on the world's best in China later this year.

"Obviously I feel a lot of pressure when I get a high break to keep going to get more."

Anzac Day in Waitara

The Anzac Day Parade in Waitara before the civic service.

The weather was perfect for the Anzac Day services held around the mountain on Tuesday.

Missing Taranaki man

Jared Shaun McLean has not been heard from since Saturday.

"We all are actually worried, it's just unlike him to do this."

Bramhill for Greens

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall has been picked as the Green Party's candidate for the New Plymouth electorate in the 2017 ...

Long time environmental activist Stuart Bramhill is the Green's candidate for New Plymouth. 

Manawatu

Gorge could be closed for weeks

About 3,500 cubic metres of earth is blocking the Woodville end of State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge.

Manawatu Gorge set for another long closure after two slips block lanes.

Woman badly hurt

Police are at the scene of a crash in Dannevirke, where a motorcycle hit an elderly woman.

An elderly woman is in a critical condition after being hit by a motorcycle in Dannevirke.

Child basher in denial

Peter Ross Moran wants to live near a child whose brain he damaged.

He caused his victim's brain to become "watery mush", but still denies doing anything wrong.

Smoke and coffee to start the day video

Vietnam War vet Alby Armstrong gets ready for the dawn service in Palmerston North.

Alby Armstrong thinks about other soldiers when he's at a dawn service.

Nelson

Richmond remembers lost heroes

Poppy laying during the Anzac Day service at War Memorial Gardens, Richmond.

Anzac Day crowds overflowed into the streets around Richmond's memorial gardens.

A city pays tribute video

Anzac Day dawn parade and service at Anzac Memorial Park, Nelson.

Thousands woke before dawn to attend Anzac Day dawn service in Nelson.

Nelson: The new Silicon Valley?

Markus Erdmann and Vivian Escorsin are part of the entrepreneur group Local.Foundation who are organising a business ...

Business group says Nelson has potential to become "start-up hub of New Zealand".

Flowers revive wartime memories

World War II veteran Allan Carson holds poppies from Flanders Fields in Belgium, brought back from a visit there in ...

A Nelson man's souvenir from a WW1 battlefield stirs up two generations of memories.

Marlborough

Pak 'n Save's unusual policy

Two German men have stolen meat, cheese, beer and herbs from Pak 'n Save Blenheim.

What to do with food found on a shoplifter's person? Put it back on the shelves, of course.

Anzac day treats

Kaikoura council earthquake recovery economic lead Mel Skinner with a plate of Anzac cookies from Wellington's Good ...

The Good Bitches' homebaking brings a sweet reassuring note to earthquake recovery effort.

'It's a reality check'

Dawn services at the Seddon Memorial Hall.

Friends, family remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Anzac commemoration.

'The supreme sacrifice'

Australian Army veteran Betty Binnie gets her two remounted medals pinned to her chest by RAAF Squadron Leader Marcus Watson.

Rocked to the core by earthquakes, the people of Ward stand strong to remember the fallen this Anzac day.

South Canterbury

Honouring sacrifice

War veterans march on Memorial Ave towards the cenotaph at the Anzac Dawn Service in Timaru.

A crowd of a few hundred stood at the cenotaph in Timaru to commemorate Anzac Day.

Raising awareness 

Volunteer firefighter and former NZ Army infantryman  Maaka Mckinney is escorted into Timaru from Waimate by Timaru ...

Maaka McKinney is raising awareness for depression among first responders.

New book on war hero

Tom O'Connor has published a book on Waimate war hero Eric Batchelor.

The life of one of New Zealand's most decorated soldiers has been detailed in new book.

Man killed in crash

A man is dead after a crash on Freehold Creek Bridge at Lake Ohau.

One person has died after a single-vehicle crash on a bridge in the Waitaki District.

Southland

50-year-old receipt returned

Sue Samson with the 50-year-old receipt left in the Winton Night 'n Day store on April 6.

They'd kept their honeymoon receipt for five decades. So when a shopkeeper found it, she knew she had to return it.

Climbers' bodies found

The bodies were found in the Darren Mountains.

Bodies recovered from Fiordland after missing pair "suffered a fall".

Nasa balloon seen from Chch

Ashley Marles managed to photography the balloon with his own observatory.

That "bright stationary object" is headed for outer space - with an Anzac poppy in tow.

Gore's Anzac service

Gore High School pupil Jake Miller with Gore RSA padre Bruce Cavanagh before he left on the Anzac exchange.

A Tamworth student carried Australia's flag at Gore's Anzac Day service.

Ad Feedback