Super-city proposal heavily defeated
The much-debated plan for a Wellington regional super-city was ditched last Tuesday.
The Local Government Commission canned its draft proposal for a two-tier single authority replacing Wellington, Hutt, Kapiti, Porirua councils, Wairarapa’s three councils and Wellington regional council, citing overwhelming public opposition.
Although the majority of submitters opposed the proposal, there was a level of support for some change and the commission invited councils and communities to work together to develop alternative options.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett was one who had championed regional amalgamation.
‘‘We’ll still amble along, but we’re going to be a region of sluggish growth and we won’t be competing [with the rest of the country] the way we should be competing,’’ Leggett said.
‘‘That should be of concern to all Wellingtonians.’’
He said it was ‘‘an opportunity lost for Wellington’’ and said he could not see the region’s leaders forming a new plan any time soon.
Tracy Johnson, the Porirua Chamber of Commerce executive officer, said chamber members had supported a super-city model.
‘‘They believe that the current local government model must change to support improved local represen- tation, ensure greater commitment to developing regional infrastructure and [offer] better quality leadership,’’ Johnson said.
Up to 89 per cent of the 9142 written and 456 oral submissions opposed the com- mission’s proposed two- tier council and 10 per cent supported it. Wellington City residents showed little interest in the issue.
Although the city makes up 41 per cent of the region’s population, it contributed only 9 per cent of the submissions.
Porirua residents were similarly lacking in interest.
They presented 157 submissions, only 2 per cent of those filed, though Porirua makes up 11 per cent of the region’s population.
Of the Porirua submissions, 118 ( 75 per cent) were opposed to regional amalgamation and 39 (25 per cent) in favour.
The three main reasons for opposing the proposal were that the Auckland super-city was not seen to be working, the status quo was preferred or there was likely to be a loss of local identity.
About 54 per cent of submissions from businesses and business organisations supported the amalgamation proposal.
The three main reasons for supporting amalgamation were that it would streamline decision- making, create an environment for future prosperity and give the region a single voice.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett says the vote against regional amalgamation was an opportunity lost.