Amalgamation for the Wellington region’s councils?

Local Government Commission amalgamation proposal December 2015

On 4 December 2014, the Local Government Commission (LGC) released its proposal for an amalgamation of all the local authorities in the Wellington region into a single city.  The LGC is consulting the community on the proposal and you can find details and a submission form on their website.

Mayor Ross Church has urged Kāpiti residents to make submissions direct to the LGC, expressing their views.

Mayor Church had this to say in his column in the Kapiti News and Kapiti Observer editions in the week beginning 8 December.

“Super City? – YOU decide!

A Super City for Wellington, including Kāpiti? That’s the recommendation from the LGC but the important thing is it is YOU, the people of Kāpiti, who need to give a yes or no.

Already, the Super City option has drawn strong comments for and against, from political leaders throughout the region. However this proposal is a draft only, and your views are being sought.

I want you to understand what is being proposed for us, and what happens from here, so you all have the opportunity to come to an informed decision.

We would have two out of 21 councillors on the Greater Wellington Council. There would also be a Mayor directly elected by all voters throughout the region. This new Council would take all the main decisions for strategies in our region.

More localised decisions in Kāpiti would be made by a local board of nine members, two each from Ōtaki, Waikanae and Paekakariki-Raumati and three from Paraparaumu.

You can study the full report on the Commission’s website www.lgc.govt.nz

Is this what we want for Kāpiti? I don’t want to influence your thoughts because our soundings have indicated our community has been split 50/50.

What I can advise is how you can express your views. The LGC website provides a form that can be used to assist in writing a submission. This can be lodged at submissions@lgc.govt.nz or mailed by 4pm on Monday 2 March 2015.

Once the Commission has received the submissions it will hold public hearings where submitters have the chance to speak. After this, it will issue a final proposal.

Again however, YOU have a critical point to influence the outcome. Electors in any local authority district can call for a poll by presenting a petition. If that petition is signed by 10% or more of the electors of one of the districts, a poll must be held.

If the proposal gets more than 50% of the votes, it will go ahead. If it doesn’t, the proposal must be dropped and we stay with what we have now.

So you can see how important it is that YOU have your say.

From a Council perspective, we won’t be sitting still, while all this is decided.

We need to prepare for the future of Kāpiti so are progressing our main objectives such as the Proposed District Plan (PDP) and LTP (Long Term Plan). Should a new authority be formed, the work we do on the PDP and LTP will be invaluable in informing the plans and policies the new authority will adopt.

If a new authority is not formed, the work we do will still be invaluable – it means we won’t have stood still for a number of years.

Either way we will progress the interests of our district – the district that YOU shape.”

The Council will survey residents in late January and early February 2015 to check what, if any, changes there have been in their opinions on this.  The last survey was conducted in May 2013 and indicated a small margin (55%) in favour of retaining the status quo. 

Results of the new survey will be published on this page and will also help shape the Council’s submission to the LGC on the proposal. 

You could also send an email to amalgamation@kapiticoast.govt.nz if you want to tell us what you think or ask a question. 

However, don’t forget that this Council will not make the final decision – the Local Government Commission will so your submission to it is very important.  Just go to its website www.lgc.govt.nz/  and get a submission form.

Previous proposals

In early 2013, Kāpiti Coast District Council was part of a working party which developed a couple of options for reorganisation in the region.  The working party included Kāpiti Coast, Porirua, Wellington and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.  Both options involved establishing a bigger city in the region.

Under this single city option, there were two possible structures - one with a single tier and one with a second tier of elected local boards.  A single tier of representation consists of a mayor and up to 29 councillors.  A second tier of represenation consists of a mayor with fewer councillors (up to 21) in the first tier and a second tier of up to eight local boards.  The alternative would be the status quo. 

For more information and updates please go to www.regionalreform.org.nz 

Governance Reform Poll

A telephone poll was commissioned by Council and undertaken between 6 - 25 May by SIL Research. It involved 1,500 residents across the four wards randomly selected and the scores weighted according to age and gender spread across the district. 

Summary of results 
Based on Council's area population projections of 38,120 residents 20yrs and over and a region wide weighted sample, poll results are reported at a 95% confidence level +/-2-2.5%.

  • Status quo vs. single city option
    54.7% preferred the 'status quo'
    42.9% the 'single city'
  • Single city options - of those respondents (42.9%) who preferred a 'single city option'
    51% preferred a 'two-tier' council
    44.5% preferred a 'single tier' council
    4.5% stated 'other'
  • Importance of community boards - across all respondents
    65.4% stated community boards are 'very or somewhat important'

A copy of the Governance Reform Poll is available for download or print from the link below:

Financial investigation of a Kāpiti Coast Unitary Authority

Kāpiti Coast District Council commissioned Morrison Low and Associates to undertake an initial, high-level, financial investigation into the formation of a Kāpiti Coast Unitary Authority.

It now seems likely that there will be some change in the governance of the Wellington Region and because of this Kāpiti Coast District Council has investigated the financial implications of the formation of a Unitary Council for the Kāpiti Coast. As a unitary authority, the Kāpiti Coast Unitary Authority would have the responsibilities a territorial local authority and a regional council under the Local Government Act 2002. 

A copy of the Morrison Low and Associates report is available for download or print from the link below:

Background documents

The following documents give more background information to the local government reform:

Reorganisation Application for a Wairarapa Unitary Authority - 21 May 2013 (PDF, 116 pages, 5Mb)

Future Wellington - An Issues Paper on local government reform in the Wellington region (PDF, 88 pages, 1Mb)

Wairarapa Governance Review - 15 May 2012: South Wairarapa District Council website

Local Government Reform - Wellington City Council website

PricewaterhouseCoopers Wellington Region Governance Review Report (PDF, 70 pages, 1Mb)

Kāpiti Coast District Council Resolutions list from Council Meeting - 12 April 2012 (PDF, 1 page, 47Kb) 

Further general information is available from these websites:

Related links

Local Government Commission website 
Media Release, 31 May 2013: Feedback on Local Government Reform  
Media release, 8 March 2013: Two reform options for Wellington region unveiled (PDF, 4 pages, 13Kb)
Greater Wellington Regional Council - Regional Governance
Wellington Region - Local Government Review Panel website 
Media Release, 26 September 2012: Successful hui on local government reform 
Auditor General's overview - Auckland Council: Transition and emerging challenges
Options for Kapiti 
Mayoral Forum

Kāpiti Coast District Council Contact Details

Kāpiti Coast District Council
175 Rimu Road
Private Bag 60601
Paraparaumu 5254

Phone: (04) 296 4700
Toll free: 0800 486 486
Fax: (04) 296 4830 
Email: kapiti.council@kapiticoast.govt.nz

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