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Work to strengthen Wellington region alive and on track

Work to strengthen Wellington region alive and on track

Work to strengthen the Wellington region through local government is very much alive and on track, the Chair of the Local Government Commission, Sir Wira Gardiner, said today.

“A spirit of cooperation and collaboration has been highly evident among mayors and councillors. We are working towards an announcement on progress in August this year, leaving councillors to focus on the local body elections in October,” Sir Wira said.

The most visible of five work streams is future council organisation in the Wairarapa. Public consultation is underway to seek feedback on a range of options for the area. The deadline for responses to a questionnaire on the subject is 8 July.

The Commission and the four Wairarapa councils (including the Greater Wellington Regional Council) agreed to put more options for the community to consider this time around. The outcome of collective brain-storming was five options on top of the status quo. These ranged from a single district council to a full unitary council and three options in between.

The four Councils and the Local Government Commission also agreed on a single independent report to inform the public about those options, one that we can all be confident is a neutral assessment of each option.

Many people want to see more autonomy for the Wairarapa. But people also want to see the range of local and regional council services delivered in an effective and efficient way at a reasonable cost.

For the first time those with an interest in the options have access to information that sets out financial forecasts for all of them for 10 years not just one year. The assessment also includes some of the more intangible elements of the different options – beyond just the numbers.

The Commission will announce the results of the public feedback in August. If a preferred option stands out from the rest the Commission will work up that option for further consultation leading to a final proposal and a likely poll.

Progress also continues to be made on four other work streams on the Councils’ and Local Government Commission’s current work programme: Transport, water, economic development and spatial planning. The Commission and councils are reviewing these important council activities to see if more collaboration across councils will improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

“We’ll be providing a public update on all the Wellington work-streams in early August,” said Sir Wira Gardiner.

ENDS

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