Katie Chapman at Stuff reports:
One Lord Mayor for the region is being heralded as the future of local governance for Wellington.
An independent panel headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer today revealed its proposal for how local councils should be structured.
Under the structure there would be:
* A Greater Wellington Council with 10 councillors headed by a Lord Mayor, who would be elected by the public.
* Six local area councils: Wellington, Porirua, Kapiti, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Wairarapa.
* Each council would have a ‘‘mayoral figurehead’’, elected by the council, not the public.
* The current level of 107 elected mayors and councillors would reduce to 79.
* The Greater Wellington Council would be responsible for all finances, including setting a single rate for the region. It would also look after regional matters such as environmental issues and transport planning.
* The local area councils would be responsible for local service delivery, such as rubbish collection and park management, and local engagement and advocacy.
* Local area councils would have budgets negotiated with the Wellington Regional Council and would be responsible for funds allocated to them.
I think Sir Geoffrey’s proposed structure is a great improvement on the status quo. The name Lord Mayor is silly, but having an elected Mayor for the whole Region would give Wellington a much more effective voice.
Councillors would sit for a four-year term, but would be restricted to a three-term maximum.
I am a huge fan of term limits, and think we should have them for Parliament also. A term limit means politicians focus more on what they can achieve in their limited tenure of service, rather than how to get re-elected for ever.
The proposal is here. However they have not put a suffix on it, so it comes up file type unknown. Open it as a pdf. It’s a weighty 208 pages long and the panel that unanimously recommends the structure is Sir Geoffrey, Sue Driver, Sir Wira Gardiner and Bryan Jackson.