The Local Government Commission has ended a month of consultation on the future shape of West Coast councils, and will now analyse the public feedback and determine if there is enough interest in reform.

The commission has travelled the length of the region, asking communities if the West Coast should have one council, the West Coast Regional Council should be absorbed into the district councils, or no change at all.

The commission review was triggered last year after a request for a restructure by former Westland district councillor Anthea Keenan and Pukekura businessman Peter Salter, backed up by a Coastwide petition.

The commission finished with a public workshop at the Kingsgate Hotel in Greymouth last evening.


Commissioner Janie Annear said today they would now collate the information and "get back to you and the community in August".

Just 11 people attended the Greymouth meeting, and 21 the drop-in session at the library three days ago. An additional 500 have completed feedback forms.

The drop-in sessions had been popular Coastwide, allowing people the chance to talk one-on-one, and not in front of everyone.

Mrs Annear said no clear theme had emerged but people were aware of the challenges facing the Coast.

Haast - where they were met by a roaring fire - had the best turnout per head of population.

Earlier in the week the commission met with 33 people in Hokitika, and 17 in Westport, although that included Buller District Council staff.

Westport's Caroline Teichert said any merger should probably be between the Grey and Westland district councils, "but that's their business, not our business", the Westport News reported.

Mrs Keenan, who started the whole process, said today she was happy with how it was going.

She said she wanted to emphasise to people that the option of one West Coast council was at the "top end of the scale".

"There are lots of variances for better collaboration. We can do better, that's for sure."

Currently the West Coast has four councils serving just 33,000 people.

People have until July 8 to complete the questionnaire, available from councils and libraries, or on-line at

- Greymouth Star