7 Jun 2013

One regional council Wellington's preferred option

9:54 pm on 7 June 2013

The Wellington City Council has agreed that a single council for the wider region would be the best alternative to the status quo.

Under the option, six of the region's councils, including the regional council, would merge into one, but it would exclude the three Wairarapa district councils which want to become one separate body.

Wellington's mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the proposed single council option could offer a more streamlined approach than in Auckland.

The council has agreed to propose to the Local Government Commission an amalgamation option comprising a single mayor and 29 councilors to govern most of the region.

Ms Wade-Brown says the option would be more efficient and effective than the supercity structure in place in Auckland, which also includes local boards.

She says the option is about giving the public choice in how they are governed and making that democracy more local.

But the deputy mayor, Ian McKinnon diagrees, he believes a structure which includes local boards would be more effective and ensure better links between the public and elected councilors.

"This is local government, it's not central government, and it's that focus on local issues that's important. And to do that, local body politicians have to be out amongst the people as often and and as frequently as possible - not sitting round a table."

Mr McKinnon says the cost of setting up 29 different offices around the wards would be very expensive and that was not taken into consideration.