9 Jun 2015

Wellington super city plan to be scrapped - mayors

9:09 am on 9 June 2015

Some Wellington mayors believe a controversial plan to roll the region's nine councils into one is being thrown out today.

The view towards the Hutt Valley from the Wellington suburb of Roseneath.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

At the end of last year the Local Government Commission proposed merging the councils in Wairarapa, Kapiti, Porirua and Wellington City.

A Greater Wellington Council council would be formed from the combined Upper Hutt, Hutt City, Wellington City, Porirua, Kapiti, Carterton, Masterton, South Wairarapa and regional councils.

Under the draft proposal, the super-council's mayor would be elected at large and a governing body of 21 members voted in from eight newly defined wards. Wellington City would be split into three wards and, underneath, eight local boards.

The Local Government Commission was keeping quiet on the date of the final announcement, but always had a mid-year target to either release its final proposal or head back to the drawing board.

However, some of the region's mayors told Radio New Zealand that the decision was expected by the end of the week, and could be as soon as Tuesday.

Those mayors, from Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Masterton, and Wellington's deputy mayor, all said they had heard the supercity proposal was out.

"[The announcement] will set aside the current proposal for one regional council across all of Wellington, and will look to change that, and back to the drawing board to come up with a new proposal," said Justin Lester, Wellington's deputy mayor.

Ray Wallace.

Ray Wallace. Photo: RNZ / Eru Rerekura

Lower Hutt's mayor, Ray Wallace, had heard the same thing.

"It's my understanding from what I've heard around the traps that we will be looking at a decision, an announcement, that shows that the supercity will not be proceeding," he said.

"More than likely the Local Government Commission will want to come back and talk with all the local authorities about putting a proposal up that the vast majority could live with."

But Mr Lester and Mr Wallace stressed they had only heard rumours and information leaking out, not official confirmation from the Commission.

The Commission could also push forward with the Greater Wellington Council proposal - but that would go to a referendum if any one of the affected areas could get 10 per cent of residents to sign a petition.

The Local Government Commission could also put out a similar proposal to the draft with some amendments.

Former Carterton mayor and New Zealand First MP Ron Mark said it would be good news for the Wairarapa if the supercity proposal was scrapped.

Mr Mark told Morning Report that rumours the proposal was to be chucked out had been around for weeks.

He said the public did not support a nine-council supercity.

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