Local Government Reform Information and Resources
This page has information and resources about local government reform which affects Porirua City.
Porirua City's interest in local government reform
Local government is a truly dynamic environment. We use local government services or facilities every day.
Local government is the place where economic, cultural, social and environmental interests coincide. It is the meeting place of central government policy and the daily life of residents. It recognises, protects and advocates for our diverse communities and oversees planning for a sustainable future direction. Local government influences where we live, work, visit, shop, learn and play.
Porirua is part of the Wellington region. While we do well at local city and district levels throughout the Wellington region, the region as a whole has not realised its full potential. We can do better overall but we need to be clear how that might be achieved.
Understanding the Local Government Debate - thoughts from the Mayor of Porirua
See a short video from Porirua City's Mayor Nick Leggett introducing some of the local and regional governance issues and how Porirua is involved (4.47mins).
The Mayor will have regular comments on the local government debate. Download and read the Mayor's comments:
Porirua Priorities in Reorganisation (1 page 131KB pdf)
Making submissions (1 page 176 KB pdf)
Options for two-tier model (1 page 183KB pdf)
Two-tier model for local government? (1 page 80KB pdf)
Change versus more of the same (1 page 64KB pdf)
Understanding the local governance debate (1 page 167KB pdf)
A brief introduction to opportunities for change
See a short video on the recent consultation by Porirua, Kapiti Coast, Wellington and Greater Wellington councils on the single council one and two tier options (1.25mins).
Local government is changing at all levels
Local government is changing at the national, regional and local levels.
In 2009, the Auckland Council was established through a large amalgamation and separate statute. In 2012, the government launched the Better Local Government reform package, to achieve a simpler, more connected and efficient local government environment including planning, reporting, financial management and structures. A change to the Local Government Act 2002 in December 2012 increased options for local government reorganisation and amalgamation. Another amendment to the Act is expected later in 2013.
In the Wellington region, local government function and structure has been considered by the nine councils since 2009. This has included the work of the Wellington Regional Mayoral Forum and the work of several combinations of councils on a range of investigations, consultation and surveys. Councils in the region are now considering their positions on local and regional goverance, using previous information, the views of their communities, and preparing for possible applications to the Local Government Commission for reorganisation.
How to balance local and regional
A key issue in local government reorganisation is around what would benefit from regional coordination and what should be truly local.
There is definitely room for improved regional leadership, direction, representation, cooperation, planning, infrastructure and economic development. However, there is also a very clear desire to protect local democracy by ensuring that local identity, voice and representation is maintained. The challenge is to strike a practical balance between the two.
Principles for assessing regional governance options for Porirua
Council needs to consider the implications of change for its own communities using its own set of principles. The following principles have emerged through community input on various regional governance discussions over recent years and discussions with Council. In working toward reform of local government in the region, any structural change needs to achieve the following for Porirua and the region:
- our local community/village identities are protected as part of a local governance structure
- our local voice is heard through access to decision-making at all levels
- our elected representation at all levels reflects the diversity of the city
- the region has a stronger voice and Porirua has an enhanced voice in the region
- there is efficient and effective provision of core services
- there is affordable local government
Options for the Wellington region
Local Government Reform Working Party - Report March 2013
A working party looking at local government reform, with representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Porirua City Council and Wellington City Council (including the Mayors, Councillors and Chief Executives), established in November 2012, proposed consulting the public on two new council models for the Wellington region:
1) one council with a single-tier of decision making
2) one council with two-tiers of decision making - a governing council and local boards
The report leaves open the question of whether or not Wairarapa could be included in a new council.
Porirua City Council agrees to seek community comment
In March 2013, Working Party member councils voted to seek public comment on the models. Download and read the report to Porirua City Council at its meeting on 13 March 2013:
Local and regional opportunities for information and comment
Visit the shared website, www.regionalreform.org.nz which provides a wide range of information on the Working Party's models, factsheets, links to other councils' websites and some of the reports and investigations across the region that have led up to this point. There will be regional and local opportunities to have your say on what is proposed.
See also Porirua City Council's Public Consultation page which has information about consultation activities and events.
What happens next? Are there other opportunities for public input?
The period for submissions on the two options for change closed on 3 May 2013. Some of the councils on the working party, including Porirua, will also be commissioning randomised surveys of residents to inform their decision-making.
The Working Party and then its member councils will be considering the outcome of the submissions and then deciding whether or not, and how, an application(s) is made to the Local Government Commission for change. However, this is not the end for public input.
If an application is made to the Commission and it meets the criteria, the Commission then calls for alternatives. This is where other councils and interested parties might decide to put forward their own proposals for change or at least their views. The Commission considers all of this information and then issues its own proposal. The Commission holds a consultation and submission process providing more opportunity for public input. Ultimately, a poll could be called to vote on any proposal from the Commission. If a majority is achieved in favour of the proposal, it will proceed. This means that public input is very important in the process for managing local government reorganisation.
Other discussions - what are other councils doing?
There have been a range of discussions on local government across the region. The councils of Wairarapa have formed the Wairarapa Governance Review Working Party and this is considering making an application to the Local Government Commission to become a unitary authority (amalgamating the three district councils and taking on the Wairarapa-related functions of Greater Wellington Regional Council). The two Hutt Valley councils favour no change but if change is unavoidable, have stated a preference for a joint Hutt unitary authority. More information on the respective council views can be found on their websites and also through the shared website www.regionalreform.org.nz.
Local government in the region - what has been discussed up to this point?
Porirua City Council has sought advice from several sources over the last few years to inform its consideration of options - some of these are described below.
Wellington Region Local Government Review Panel: May - October 2012
The Wellington Region Local Government Review Panel was chaired by the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC. The Panel was supported by Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council. The Panel's Report Future Wellington: Proud, Prosperous and Resilient (2MB pdf) was released on 30 October 2012. The Panel's approach was that form should follow function. The Panel investigated local government functions at the regional and local level (drawing on the work of the Royal Commission on Auckland) and recommended a two tier model for the region. The Panel held many meetings and received submissions in response to an earlier Issues Paper. Read about the Panel and its recommendations through the Wellington Local Government Review website. Note: The model recommended by the Panel (a governing council and local area councils with statutory functions) cannot be implemented without separate legislation. However, the Panel's report, background information and results of consultation, have made a very useful case for change.
See Council's Local Government Reform insert from August 2012 (433KB 2 page pdf) published at the time of the Panel's regional consultation.
Wellington Region Survey: June - July 2012
In mid 2012, Colmar Brunton carried out a telephone survey of residents across the Wellington region. The survey was based on four options prepared by Wellington City Council as part of its consideration of local government in the region. The survey was jointly funded by the eight city and district councils. Porirua City Council agreed to participate and to take up the offer to include several local booster questions. View the survey Summary (2 page pdf).
Local views - what have we said in Porirua?
The Porirua community has often contributed views on local government reform in the region. These views have been made known through public meetings, website and public contact with elected officials. View a Summary of messages from Porirua community on regional governance
The Better Local Government reforms - what are they?
In addition to regional and local governance discussions, the government is overseeing changes to local government law. In December 2012, the Government changed the Local Government Act 2002. This was Phase I of the Better Local Government reform programme. Changes to the Act included easing the process for the reorganisation of local authorities (including amalgamation). Other changes included removing reference to the four aspects of wellbeing introduced in 2002 (social, cultural economic and environmental), extending mayoral powers and further changes to financial management.
Porirua City Council made a submission to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill. The Select Committee released its report on 30 October 2012.
Read more about the government's local government reform package, what has been completed and what more is to happen, including Council's submission on the first Bill:
Phase II of the Better Local Government reform programme includes further amendments to the Local Government Act later in 2013. This will be informed by the results of the investigations into planning, consultation and regulation. Other statutes involving local government are also being reviewed, including the Resource Management Act 1991.
Consultation - how to get more information and make a comment
See also our Public Consultation page which has information about local and regional opportunities, activities and public meetings.