Single council idea on table
A single council with either one or two tiers has been proposed by a multi-council working party.
Under the single-level proposal Wellington would get a bigger combined council than Auckland, with 28 councillors and a mayor elected from local wards, or 30 if Wairarapa were part of it.
Wellington City would have 11 representatives, Lower Hutt would have six, Porirua would have four, Kapiti and Upper Hutt would have three each, and Wairarapa would have two.
A two-tier council would have a mayor and either 20 or 22 councillors and seven or eight community boards.
This option is only legally possible if the council represents 400,000 people or more, and that would require the participation of at least Lower Hutt and its 93,000 citizens.
Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt councils have said they preferred a unitary Hutt Valley council taking over the regional council’s role there.
But Mr Douglas said that was unlikely.
‘‘I think it would be very, very hard to rationally expect the Local Government Commission to agree to a dismemberment of the Hutt Valley from the narrow Wellington region,’’ he said.
The proposals were the conclusions of a joint working party comprised of Wellington, Kapiti Coast, Porirua and Greater Wellington councils presented on Friday.
South Wairarapa, Carterton and Masterton councils have said they want to amalgamate, separate from Wellington Regional Council and take over its role in Wairarapa.
Were the 41,000 residents of Wairarapa important to the planned structure? Mr Douglas said he thought Wairarapa was very important, because it made up most of the region’s land area.
‘‘ I think anything north of Wellington is very important to the whole region because nothing is going to happen in the south except earthquakes.’’
Regardless of whether a singletier or two- tier council were chosen, it would result in economies of scale and better quality planning, Mr Douglas said.
In the next two weeks the four councils will vote on whether to seek public views on the proposals.