Two tier structure possible for councils

By Amie Hickland

Changes to the Local Government Amendment Bill this week would allow the Local Government Commission to enforce a two-tier governance model on councils.

The government introduced a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) on Tuesday for the bill, which includes changes to enable the commission to approve a two-tier model in Wellington.

The Wellington Review Panel, commissioned by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and Porirua City Council, recommended a two-tier structure in which Wairarapa councils become a local area council.

At the same time, Wairarapa councils are investigating the viability of a Wairarapa unitary authority.

GWRC chairwoman Fran Wilde (pictured) said some parts of the SOP were different from what was proposed but it supports many of the major recommendations.

"The most important thing is that it allows for a two-tier model, which retains a strong element of local democracy while delivering the benefits of region-wide planning and decision-making," she said.

"It's now up to local government leaders in the Wellington region to develop a really strong proposal for Wellington that is tailored to our needs. If we do that, we can avoid an 'Auckland solution' where a model designed and driven by central government was imposed, with minimal input from Aucklanders."

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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