Governance options mulled over

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Wairarapa district councils and Greater Wellington Regional Council have been meeting to consider governance options. PHOTO/FILE
Wairarapa district councils and Greater Wellington Regional Council have been meeting to consider governance options. PHOTO/FILE

The future governance of Wairarapa as far as local bodies is concerned is expected to become clearer within the next few weeks.

District councils along with Greater Wellington Regional Council have been meeting to mull over papers produced on behalf of the Local Government Commission commenting on a range of options from keeping the status quo, forming a single Wairarapa District Council with the role of the regional council being unchanged, forming a Wairarapa District Council with varying levels of regional council involvement and a remaining option of the amalgamation of the three district councils along with the regional council in Wairarapa to become a Wairarapa Unitary Council.

Costings for all the options have been prepared and form part of the deliberations now under way behind closed doors.

Should the status quo be finally decided on it would mean no change for any of the district councils with Masterton retaining a mayor and 10 councillors, Carterton a mayor and eight councillors and South Wairarapa a mayor and nine councillors.

South Wairarapa would retain its 21 community board members spread throughout the three towns and Wairarapa would still have a single member on the regional council.

All remaining options would result in a single Wairarapa District Council with a mayor and 11 councillors and 21 community board members with the retention of a regional councillor, apart from the Wairarapa Unitary Council option which would drop off the regional councillor role.

The unitary council would have to pick up the entire workload now handled by the regional council, including regional and public transport, resource management, flood protection, land management and climate change planning.

A previous option of combining forces with other districts throughout the greater Wellington region to form a Wellington super-city was shelved.

The Wairarapa Unitary Council concept has been favoured by many of the existing councillors throughout Wairarapa but is expected to be assessed as the most expensive option bearing in mind the cost loading that would incur through picking up the existing regional council workload.

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