Local Government Reform Information and Resources

This page has information about regional and local government reform which affects Porirua City.

The Local Government Commission has been working with councils and communities on other options to address the challenges faced by the region.

More information is available from the Commission's website.

Local Government Act 2002

One of the Council's guiding statues is the Local Government Act 2002.  Since its introduction, it has had several reviews and amendments (see Better Local Government webpage).

In 2016, the Government announced a further review titled Better Local Services.

Local Government Commission - draft proposal and outcome of submissions

On 4 December 2014, the Local Government Commission released its Draft Proposal for Reorganisation of Local Government in Wellington. Submissions closed on 2 March 2015.

A snapshot of the Commission's Draft Proposal with reference to Porirua was:

  • one Greater Wellington Council with local boards – a two-tier council structure not inconsistent with that supported by the Council previously;
  • one mayor elected at large, one council of 21 councillors and eight local boards of 6-10 councillors;
  • local boards for Wairarapa; Upper Hutt; Lower Hutt; Kapiti Coast; Porirua-Tawa; Ohariu; Lambton; and Rongotai;
  • the Porirua-Tawa ward/board boundary between will need to be considered in more detail;
  • a local board for Porirua-Tawa with seven members;
  • two councillors from each ward appointed to each local board to help with communication and coordination;
  • three representatives from Porirua-Tawa on the council (local boards match the council wards, so Tawa and Porirua will jointly elect their representatives to the Council;
  • a significant focus of the Commission’s work has been on achieving a balance between regional and local decision making and rationalising processes, planning and structures;
  • the mayor and councillors would be responsible for high-level decisions affecting the region;
  • the Porirua-Tawa Board would be responsible for local decision making, unless there were regional implications;
  • local boards would control council budgets and decisions for local matters in established communities
  • local boards would have powers and budgets for local parks and reserves; recreational and community facilities; arts and cultural facilities and libraries; community and cultural events; decisions about public spaces such as town centres and main streets; community grants; local transport, waste and recycling facilities; and local economic development initiatives;
  • local board functions will be set by the Commission under different legislation to that in Auckland, with a greater decision making role and unable to be removed or modified by the Greater Wellington Council.  

Submissions and hearings

Submissions closed on 2 March 2015 with well over 9,000 received. Hearings were held through April all around the region, including Porirua. Porirua City Council made a submission supporting the Commission's draft proposal, apart from Wairarapa. On 26 March 2015, the Council presented its views to the Commission. A summary analysis of submissions has been released by the Commission.

There was little support for the major structural option proposed for Wellington with 89% of the 9000 submissions opposed. However, 40% of submitters expressed a desire for some form of change. The Commission acknowledged this point and will work with the community and councils to get the form of change to a stage where it is acceptable to the regional community. The Commission noted that there needs to be more emphasis on the role of communities, identifying the challenges they face, the options that can address those challenges, and the development of more consensus on their preferred approach to change.

As required under the Local Government Act 2002, if this process results in new options for reform with community support the Commission would then prepare new draft proposals for wider consultation in Wellington.

Current form of local government in the Wellington region

There are nine councils in the Wellington region providing local government services for a population of ~490,000: eight city and district councils and one regional council.

Role of city and district councils (territorial authorities)

There are eight city and district councils (territorial authorities) - Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Hutt City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, South Wairarapa District Council, Carterton District Council and Masterton District Council; (population size determines whether they are called a city or district council, but there is no difference in the way they operate).

City and district councils provide a wide range of services including:

  • Local infrastructure to manage drinking water, stormwater, wastewater (sewage) and roads
  • Environmental safety and health
  • District emergency management and civil defence preparedness
  • Building control
  • Public health inspections and other environmental health matters
  • Managing land use through district plans
  • Noise control
  • Community infrastructure, pools, parks and reserves

Community boards - some councils in the region (not Porirua) also have community boards. Community boards have an advocacy role and may have other functions delegated by the respective council. Community boards may or may not be funded, and can be disestablished by the council.

Role of the regional council

There is one regional council - Greater Wellington Regional Council with the following broad roles:

  • Managing the effects of using freshwater, land, air and coastal waters
  • Managing rivers, mitigating soil erosion and providing flood control
  • Regional emergency management and civil defence preparedness
  • Regional land transport planning and contracting passenger transport services
  • Harbour navigation and safety, oil spills and other marine pollution
  • Sustainable regional wellbeing, including economic wellbeing

Porirua City's interests and obligations in local government reform

Under s10 of the Local Government Act 2012, Porirua City Council has a statutory obligation to:

  • enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
  • to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses

Porirua City Council has a wide range of responsibilities and functions for its territorial area. But Porirua City is also part of the Wellington region. We are interested in the way in which we contribute to, and benefit from, our place in the region. Over the last several years it has been recognised that while things at city and district level in the region generally run well, 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. One of the challenges is achieving a local and regional balance.

Principles for assessing regional governance options for Porirua

Porirua City Council agreed to consider the implications of change for its communities using a set of principles. These principles have emerged through community input on various regional governance discussions over recent years and discussions with Council. The Council agreed that in any reform of local government in the region, 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

If you have any queries or ideas about what you would like to see on these pages, email enquiries@pcc.govt.nz - Subject: Local Government Reform.