4 December 2014
The Local Government Commissions decision to recommend a unified Wellington region supported by local boards will strengthen the capitals decision making, improve delivery of essential services and attract central government and private sector investment to the region, says Stephen Selwood of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
The Commissions proposal gives Wellington the tools to compete. It provides the opportunity to lift vision beyond current parochial boundaries and put in place a structure to support regional growth and development. Partnership between urban centres and the rural hinterland, as well as between the region, central government and business will all be fostered.
The Greater Wellington Council will have one Mayor elected at large across all of the new Wellington region, supported by 21 councillors and 60 local board representatives. It will oversee assets of $13 billion, making it the second largest investor in the region, and empowering it with the resources to implement regional strategic direction.
And the Commissions proposal does this without compromising local decision making. The Commissions eight local boards will give communities of interest strong representation within the Greater Wellington Council. Whether or not the local board boundaries provide the best representation of local communities and whether they will have sufficient delegated authority and funding will be topics for further debate.
The Commission has put forward an excellent proposal. Residents of the Wellington region should be excited at the potential for the future under this proposal for regional government, Selwood says.