Clock starts on council change
‘Now time to engage with communities’
Councils and interested parties have until August 16 to lodge alternative ideas for local government arrangements in Wairarapa and Wellington.
The Local Government Commission announced on last week that it would assess the Greater Wellington regional council’s application to amalgamate Wellington region into a single authority, along with another application from the three Wairarapa councils to form their own single council, taking over the regional council’s role there.
Porirua City Council will not lodge any alternative proposal, but will instead lodge a letter of support for the Greater Wellington council’s application.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said his council did not have the resources and did not consider it necessary to develop its own proposal given that it had co-operated in developing Greater Wellington’s one.
‘‘It is now time for the Local Government Commission to engage with communities and politicians should step back. The politicians have had their discussions and debate,’’ Mr Leggett said.
‘‘We also support a binding referendum if the Local Government Commission recommends change.
‘‘We are agnostic on the situation with Wairarapa.
‘‘We don’t have a view on where those communities fit. That is up to them and the Local Government Commission,’’ Mr Leggett said.
Greater Wellington’s submission proposed a single council taking over both the roles of the eight territorial authorities and the regional council.
Community boards, which approximately matched the existing city and district council catchments, would oversee minor local matters and an over-arching 22-member council would control regional matters.
Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils have jointly proposed that they should amalgamate into a single council taking over the regional council’s role in Wairarapa.
Local Government Commission chief executive Donald Riezebos said the applications would be considered together.
The three Local Government Commissioners will consider the two applications and any alternative proposals before issuing a draft proposal.
After a period for public submissions, the commission will decide on a local government structure for the Wellington region.
If the commission receives a petition with the signatures of 10 per cent or more of any affected region, it must hold a referendum pitting its proposal for reorganisation with the status quo.
Commission spokeswoman Kathryn Street said the earliest the commissioners were likely to consider the proposals was at their meeting on September 12.
They would not issue any reorganisation proposal before the Local Body Elections on October 12, she said.
Supporting regional council: Nick Leggett, Porirua Mayor.