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

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