Communication for Sustainable Development

Super city option in report to mayors

Turning the Wellington region into a super-city with one ruling council is among options suggested in a new report commissioned by mayors.
Picture of Wellington from a plane. Looking so...Image via Wikipedia

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report – the first to explore the region's governance structure – also suggests downtown Wellington could have special status in relation to other CBDs. The significance of this is not made clear.

The paper focuses on issues and opportunities facing all nine councils in the region, but not on the development of different council structures – although six options are floated.

The key conclusion is that the current structure "is not a sustainable option in the longer term".

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown would not rule out any of the options in the report. "At this stage I'm neither ruling out keeping the existing political boundaries nor the possibility of change.

"I am sceptical about any wholesale amalgamation but will wait to see what the public has to say."

Wellington City Council's website would link to the report and from today people were invited to give views in an unofficial consultation period extending through to February, Ms Wade-Brown said.

Areas of concern identified in the report include economic development, transport, water, wastewater, and stormwater services. Co-ordination of regional planning also emerged as a challenge.

The chairman of the Wellington Mayoral Forum, Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy, said the report was commissioned about nine months ago to ensure the region continued to be competitive. It would be considered by the forum in March.

"[We] will focus on how to take this matter forward and will agree a project plan for this including how the community can have input to help shape the councils' views."

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide said Wellington's councils had shown leadership and initiative in commissioning the report which he was yet to read in full.

He stressed that the region was not about to be forced into becoming a super-city.

"The Government has been very clear that there's been no decisions to do anything anywhere else other than Auckland."

He was working on a "first principles paper on local government", which would lay down criteria for council amalgamation.

"And it's fair to say that areas like the Wellington region ... are looking at the implications of Auckland and are looking at shared services and how they can work better together."

Wellington has to battle for Government funding since the formation of Auckland's super-city of more than a million Kiwis.

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