Councillor spills merger plan ahead of Wellington supercity announcement

Councillor says supercity recommended.

See also: New Wellington council proposed by 2016

A Wellington City Councillor has told Radio NZ officials are recommending a merger of Wellington with surrounding councils.

The decision of the Local Government Commission is expected at midday but Helene Ritchie has told the state broadcaster that a merger is proposed. 

The station reports the supercity would include councils in Wellington, the Hutt Valley, Porirua basin, Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa.

The commission has been considering applications for a rejig of the nine councils for almost 18 months.

Once the model is revealed, there will be public consultation.

Local paper The Dominion Post is reporting a unitary council with local boards was the favoured option, as it would mirror the Auckland supercity model.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace has been vocal in his opposition, while Wellington Mayor Cecilia Wade-Brown has indicated her personal view was that "Miramar to Masterton" is a step too far.

However, Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett is pro-amalgamation. He has said in a column that councils in the regions aren’t making the most of their strengths to insulate themselves against weaknesses.

The Property Council’s Wellington Branch President Andrew Hay has said it is time Wellington caught up with Auckland, and that there could be more efficiency through reducing the duplication of services.

Key aspects of the new model include:

  • one mayor
  • 21 councillors, elected from eight wards
  • 60 local board members, making up eight boards (matching the wards)
  • Separate Maori representation
  • Rates based on capital valuation

vyoung@nbr.co.nz

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