Change on cards for Wellington district
Wellington’s region should get ready for Wairarapa on steroids.
The Local Government Commission will next year likely propose merging Wairarapa’s three councils into one superdistrict council, and says it has the backing of the community for change.
It comes as one Wellington mayoral candidate won’t rule out working on a proposal for the city’s marriage to its northern neighbour.
The proposal comes after the commission ditched its investigation into a super city for the Wellington region in 2015, which would have amalgamated all nine councils into one giant entity.
The commission confirmed it had ditched any work on merging other parts of the region, such as a potential marriage of Wellington City and Porirua.
But while the commission wasn’t working on it, Wellington mayoral candidate, and outgoing Porirua mayor, Nick Leggett, said he would not rule out making an application for a merger if he was elected.
Wellington deputy mayor and mayoral candidate Justin Lester said there was ’’just no interest in flogging a dead horse’’ when it came to amalgamation, with most Wellingtonians not wanting to pay for Porirua.
Amalgamation, he said, would have huge costs and no immediate benefits for Wellington.
Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown said she had thought a Wellington, Porirua, Kapiti amalgamation had always been ‘‘interesting’’ to her, but nothing should happen unless the community supported it.
She said Leggett would be ‘‘forever tainted’’ by his backing of former Greater Wellington chair Fran Wilde who supported the region-wide super city appli- cation.
Running alongside the work on Wairarapa’s amalgamation, the commission was looking at sharing services across the Wellington region’s councils - including the option of a super transport authority.
Currently public transport is managed by Greater Wellington council, and the roading networks are split between eight councils and the NZ Transport Agency, which covers state highways.
The case would land in time for new councils after October 8 elections.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said he would not rule out making an application for a merger if he was elected as mayor for Wellington