Amalgamation for the Wellington region’s councils?
Council came out strongly in favour of a poll of residents to decide on the Local Government Commission’s proposal to amalgamate the local bodies of the region into a single Greater Wellington Council – if the Commission produces a final proposal. Council also recommended that the Commission should satisfy itself it has “demonstrable support” for its proposal from the communities across the region before moving to a final document. Council also urged the Commission to hold hearings in Kāpiti – not only in Wellington as it had indicated.
Mayor Ross Church says among the benefits Council can see in amalgamation are linking regional infrastructure to regional planning; a better voice for the wider region, particularly on business and economic development matters; more efficient regulatory systems; and a reduction in compliance costs.
Disadvantages include the loss of local democracy and local voice; and the cost of change – where could be close to a decade before financial benefits outweigh the transition costs.
Council supported some key elements of the report such as
- A two-tier Council structure (Council with Local Boards)
- The creation of wards with two representatives from the Kāpiti Coast Ward to be elected to the Council
- The creation of a Kāpiti Coast Local Board elected from ward subdivisions, i.e. Ōtaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, and Paekākāriki-Raumati
- Kāpiti Coast Councillors to be appointed back onto the Kāpiti Coast Local Board, ensuring strong linkage and accountability
- Retention of area offices and service centres
The Council's submission can be read here.
Going forward, the Commission will hold public hearings where submitters can present their submissions. After that, the Commission can issue the draft as a final proposal, identify another “preferred option” or decide not to proceed further.
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:
The following documents give more background information to the local government reform:
Future Wellington - An Issues Paper on local government reform in the Wellington region (PDF, 88 pages, 1Mb)
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:
Local Government Commission website
Greater Wellington Regional Council - Regional Governance
Wellington Region - Local Government Review Panel website
Auditor General's overview - Auckland Council: Transition and emerging challenges
Options for Kapiti