What is being proposed?
A beefed- up Wellington Regional Council would set and charge rates, which would be frozen at no more than the rate of inflation for three years.
It would assume the transport and environmental regulatory authority of the present regional council.
It would have 10 councillors: four from Wellington city; two from Lower Hutt; and one each from Wairarapa, Upper Hutt, Porirua and Kapiti.
It would be chaired by a lord mayor elected by the region.
Council terms would be four years, and councillors would be limited to three terms.
Existing territorial authorities would retain their catchments, except the three Wairarapa councils – Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa, which would amalgamate.
Local councils would apply to the regional council for funding.
Local mayors would no longer be elected by voters but by their councils.
Existing community boards would continue at the discretion of the local councils.
Councillors would not be eligible to serve on the boards of councilcontrolled organisations.
The panel was established by Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council in May and consultations were held throughout the region.
Its members were Sir Geoffrey Palmer (chairman), Sue Driver, Bryan Jackson and Sir Wira Gardiner.
Announcing the proposal on October 30 Sir Geoffrey said there had been ‘‘general disdain for the idea of a super-city’’ but widespread support for Wairarapa councils amalgamating.
Sir Geoffrey said lack of leadership was key in driving the changes.
The region needed a single strong voice, he said.
‘‘Local government is too important to be left to local government-elected officials and their advisers.
‘‘It needs to be fully consulted upon,’’ he said.
One can learn from Auckland not to do things too fast: do it rigorously and properly.’’
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett and Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde have welcomed the release of the report, calling it substantial and significant.
‘‘On first reading, our reaction is that the panel’s recommendations are well researched and will result in far more strategic and integrated regional leadership with the retention of authentic local democracy.
‘‘This is a far cry from a single-tier ‘super-city’ and reflects widespread concerns we have heard round the region about how local government is currently functioning,’’ Mr Leggett and Ms Wilde said.
Greater Wellington and Porirua councils will consider the panel’s report and make their own submissions to the Local Government Commission before it makes any changes to governance in the region.