Lessons not learned from Auckland

Yay! Wellington will follow my lead

Yay! Wellington will follow my lead

Wellingtonians appear to be dumber than a bag of hammers, at least the idiots at the Local Government Commission who have issued a report suggesting that Wellington could benefit from a Super City arrangement.

Have they not learned a thing from Auckland?

Goodbye Wellington, hello Greater Wellington – the capital is set to become a super-city.

The long-awaited draft recommendation from the Local Government Commission has found that the Wellington’s nine councils should unite into one council named Greater Wellington Council.

Key points of the proposed model are:

* One mayor elected at large heading a council made up of 21 members from eight wards – Rongotai, Lambton, Ohariu, Porirua-Tawa, Kapiti Coast, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wairarapa.

That council would be responsible for high-level, region-wide matters.

* Each ward would then also have a local board with between six to 10 elected members which would be responsible for local decisions.

* Two councillors would also be appointed to each board.    

* There would also be a Maori board and a Natural Resources Management Committee.

* The first Greater Wellington Council would be elected at the next local body elections in 2016.

* It would establish a new integrated rating system, which would come into force in 2019. In the interim existing separate rates schemes would remain in place.

*  Rates would be decided on a property’s capital, not land, value.

* The main council office would be in Wellington.

* There would be area offices in Porirua, Paraparaumu, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Masterton. Smaller service centres would be in Waikanae, Otaki, Martinborough, Greytown, Featherston and Carterton.

* A small section of Tararua District that is currently within the regional council boundary which transfer to the Manawatu-Wanganui region.

Today’s decision marks a significant step after years of debate about whether or not Wellington should, or need to, amalgamate.

The issue came to a head last year when the three Wairarapa councils put in a bid to break free from the region and form a separate unitary authority.

Heard it all before…for Auckland and how has that worked out for us all?

Ever increasing rates, out of control Mayor, rapacious council bureaurats and no solutions as promised.

If Wellingtonians were smart they’d kick this to touch.

Interestingly Fiji did away with local councils and no one wants them back.


– Dominion Post


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  • SlightlyStrange

    I want to know how I kick this stupidity in to touch. Must go research.

    • OneTrack

      Too many socialists who think other people should pay for what they want. They “care”. And they care so much, they are willing to spend other peoples money to show how much.

      • Ztev Konrad

        Not socialist these are ideas from unelected commission appointed by Rodney Hide

  • sheppy

    This’ll be expensive for those who live there! Just wait until the lefty councillors start racking up the debt like in Auckland. Does anyone know what Wellington’s unaffordable white elephant will be to compete with Lennys trainset?

    • SlightlyStrange

      Light rail to the airport.

      • sheppy

        Will it cost heaps, be totally unaffordable without new taxes, unlikely to be used by most of the ratepayers and do nothing to ease congestion?
        If the answer isn’t definately to all of those questions there must be something else to go with it.

        • SlightlyStrange

          Last costing suggested $1bn +,
          Only used by those ratepayers who live in the line of the rail (so CBD through newtown to the airport, and possibly some of those to the east of the airport), but not by those west, north or over the harbour), or people who needed to get to the airport and didn’t want to take a car or taxi
          would only slightly ease congestion (possibly) by taking some buses off the golden mile and the road around the basin.
          So, I’d give it a 75%+ on how well it meets all your requirements.

      • dgrogan

        International-sized airport. Believe it or not, there are those who think if we build a bigger airport the tourists will flock in. But to Wellington? Yeah…nah.

        • SlightlyStrange

          Oh, that’s a good one too. Although, the cost estimates I’ve seen for that are significantly lower than the light rail.

    • James

      Rail tunnel to Picton?

  • SlightlyStrange

    “Three or four Councils may be more acceptable to the public and yet simpler than the nine we have now.”

    Oh my word. Celia Wade-Brown talking some sense.
    THAT is a proposal I would consider reasonable.

  • James

    The answer is to move more decisions and control to smaller local areas – with national government making decisions that affect multiple areas. The last thing that we want is bureaucracy that is further isolated from people as we have in Auckland.

  • Bart67

    What lunatic decided that the Wairarapa should be included in this? Have they not seen the Rimutaka Hills? It’s kind of hard to miss!

    • dumbshit

      some dick dug a hole through it, bit like the Kaimai tunnel, Tauranga weather has never been the same since. Obviously the present trough cannot accommodate all of the cousins, so it needs to be deepened!

  • ex-JAFA

    There MAY be some benefit in merging the urban areas (the several current cities), but merging rural districts as well is stupid. It was a mistake to include Franklin and Rodney in Auckland; it’ll be a bigger mistake to include the Wairarapa.

    EDIT: And NO Maori board, especially as no doubt it’ll be unelected – even a Natural Resources Committee is a daft waste of ratepayers’ funds.

    • MoggieManiac

      How does this sound?
      Having a Maori board means no-one who identifies as Maori may stand for a general Council seat.

    • Thats probably true, i would be in favour of a greater council that includes Wellington city, Upper & Lower Hutt and Porirua etc, but the rural areas have different requirements.

      • la la land

        Running a council is not exactly rocket science – I am sure they can work out what the rural areas need too…

    • JAFA Gazza

      Thats just the start. Welly will end up with a clutch of CCO’s….that do bugger all. Wait till someone decides to spend $1.5 million on a state house replica on Lambton Quay with a $750k chandellier…then lets see what loony Wellingtonians who support the proposal say…

  • NotGandalf

    Do not lump me in with the halfwits who thought this would be a good idea, this is going to be a train wreck and I envision our own version of the resource management act being inflicted on us to fill their coffers. Len will be proud.

    • JAFA Gazza

      “..its going to be a train wreck,,,” Phrophetical words. The Auckland Super City will definitely be a train wreck…a $2.4billion train wreck.

      Just you wait Wellington…your super city Mayor-to-be will have an equally grandiose white elephant on their dream list that they can carve their name on for posterity…and you will be fiscally raped to fund it.

      It hasnt been proven to work in Auckland..why the hell would you want to copy this “train wreck” of a model???

      • OneTrack

        Does anybody believe that $2.4 billion number? Len checked the number twice – of course it wouldn’t be wrong. Or made up in order to get the go ahead to start. Then it won’t matter how much it costs – somebody elses problem.

        • JAFA Gazza

          Does anyone believe anything PDBsay’s? Of course its not…a geologist friend of mine said this is basically “seed money”…probably put up to make it look cost efficient..but in reality..its a “hole in the ground” that will consume serious money because no-one knows what problems the will encounter. Its volcanic…sub terranian…has issues with extinc lava flows from the regional volcanoes…its just a whiteboard to write money numbers on as they make it up as they go along.

          All to get people from Mt Eden to the City centre.

          Pfft. Its a $6 billion capital investmet at least and a millenium of tax payer subsidised fares.

          • Ztev Konrad

            That isnt the case. They are doing test drills, but its entirely clay and sandstone. Will use same method as SW Motorway tunnel, which as worked a dream to drill.
            Any good geology map will tell your friend they having nothing major to worry about, as it looks like he hasnt looked up the actual route of the tunnel.

  • JC

    I was about to write that there’s no reason why an amalgamation shouldn’t be very good provided there were a set of ironclad rules to follow.. then I realised my rules would have made a Marxist gasp with delight for the degree of central control!


  • symgardiner

    Yes… this is the troughers trying to make a bigger trough. Wellington is bad enough with out-of-control bureaucracy. We don’t need more.
    The important question is whether we get a vote on this because if we do I will do my bit to kick this dog into the Cook Strait.

    • Wine Man

      Dont kick it, put a concrete block to its leg and throw it in.

  • Wine Man

    We only need one council and thats called central Government. For a country with a population of 4.5m we have a huge number of people employed to pass paper and create obstacles. Time to become a world leader and look to restructure all of New Zealands council structure, reduce them to what they should be, Local Boards that focus on providing local amenities. Leave the fanciful things to be dealt with at a Government level.

  • Blue Tim

    As central govt slowly shrinks (according to reports today) the paper shufflers invent ways to be redeployed/employed

  • conwaycaptain

    Look who wants the Super City??
    Fran Wilde (Labour)
    Celia Wade Brown (Labour)
    Pants Down Brown (Labour)

    • twr

      Celia is a Green (god help us)

      • And a bike rider …..

        • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

          and from Paddington, London with a nice English accent….

          • Hapless

            AND biked to Wellington Airport to meet Hillary Clinton AND is an embarrassment to us all in Wellington AND speaks Maori with and English accent (not a good sound) at EVERY public function !!!

    • OneTrack

      And they see themselves as being mayor. So, of course they are in favour.

  • I actually think its not that bad an idea. I live in Upper Hutt, our elected council had been determined for the last 3 terms to try and save our retail center, they have spent oodles of cash on cleaning the center up and artworks throughout it, But if you drive through Upper Hutt during business hours, the only people there are retired, young parents and no hopers. Lower Hutt has the opposite problem, with a key store planning on moving out in the middle of next year and without that Queen St will be as dead as high st already is. The lower Hutt council is completely ignoring this looming threat. A council taking a larger view and allocating resources better without the emotion of hometownitis can only be a good thing..

    • Dave_1924

      Hutts amalgamating on a community of interest basis yeah ok. With Welly and Porirua …. no damn way. It’s bad enough Wainui being rates raped with out lefties from the CO pillaging Wainui rates as well. Just a bad idea in my view

  • Sunshine

    Auckland could donate Len for the start up of Wellington’s super city, as long as it’s no returnsies.

  • Dave

    I suggest Wellington stall their Super City until a month or so after the next election in Auckland, as at that point, one Len Brown will be available to assist in setting up the structure of the city, and in doubling all resources. He has simple needs,
    an office, approx. 100 staff, a chauffeur an office around the Vivian/Victoria
    street area so Len can duck out for his lunchtime activities. He is a
    man of simple needs, and has a lot to offer Wellington’s new Super City.

    • They’ll need to fit out a Ngati Whatua room for him though ….

      • Dave

        Perhaps there are plenty of “meeting rooms” in the area of Wellington len might want his office!

      • Train set to go around the Basin Reserve . . .

        I lived in Wellington in the age of the tram, I am sure the rails are still under the asphalt . .

  • yossarian

    Amalgamation is probably a good idea in the long run – although I can’t see any logic in bringing the Wairarapa into it – but only if the lessons learned from the Auckland experience are applied. The charming Celia is already looking for average rate increases of 3.9% for each year of her 10-year plan, and as a ratepayer already paying through the nose I fear that just as is happening in Auckland we will end up paying heavily for somebody’s wish list. After 2019 the proposal intends to levy rates on capital values, which will see them rocket up for sure. I would like to see the long suffering ratepayer given a chance to have a voice in this before we are driven into something as bad as our friends in the north have now.

  • Blue Tim

    As much as I’m a supporter of less government at all levels, I fear that the Local Government Commission has got the Wellington proposal wrong. I wonder if they’ve got it wrong on purpose.
    Why didn’t they look to the models of Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman and Gisborne. All unitary authorities that might not be perfect but at least there’s only one layer of local/regional government in each area.
    Surely the Wairarapa should combine on their side of the hill and perhaps some of the Kapiti Coast go north. Then Porirua, Wellington, The Hutts’ could be one.

  • la la land

    I am in the wairarapa and I like the idea. The wairarapa councils are so small they do not have the resources to get stuff done. There is no budget for anything. they do not have any expertise on the staff and hiring anyone good Is difficult with the low wages. Look at masterton and wellington… Now which one would you choose to run your council..? The one that looks like a giant industrial zone or the one with world class urban design?

    • dennis

      Auckland has a super city and they can’t get a good staff.

      • Auckland has dealt with that by substituting quantity over quality, we have no end of the fing wasters.

  • waripori

    As a Wairarapa resident I would appreciate it if everyone concerned about my democratic rights would also spare a thought for my financial well being. Aucklanders whinging about their rates going up should try living here and paying $2500 a year in rates on a $250,000 house. They should also read the section of the commissions technical report on the Wairarapa Unitary proposal. It is a non starter. At present Wairarapa is 74% of the wellington region and has about 10% of the population. About 11 million dollars more is spent here by the regional council than it collects in rates every year. No wonder the mayors on the other side of the range want to get rid of us and our elected representatives want to help them do it at a cost of some $500 extra per household per year over here.
    If there is no regional council and one Unitary authority for Wellington Wairarapa has to be in it.

    • la la land

      I agree – the patch protection going on around here is obscene


      Sounds like the same situation we are faced with here in Hawke’s Bay with small regions like Waipawa/Waipukurau and Mahia/Wairoa simply not having the ratebase and talent pool to provide leadership that is up to speed.

    • Ztev Konrad

      Does your rates include water and sewage ? Its a bargain if it does

  • armotur

    After all I have read about The “super city ” that is Auckland I am totally against it in whatever form proposed.
    Leave us alone you damned bureaucrats! We have more than enough intrusion into our lives by you troughers.

    I want less government not more, less control on my life not more, less controlling me because of those that can’t control themselves, less policing 1km over the limit, more catching criminals, less penalising sensible drinkers who drive, more catch the recidivist drink driver that can’t control themselves.

    Oh! That is better! Did I get off topic? Sorry if it seemed so, but it’s all connected in some way.

    • I thought you were remarkably constrained considering the can of worms that is available . . .

    • JAFA Gazza

      Armotur…they will beguille you with words like…efficiency..infrastructure consolidation….even promise resource consistency…then some schmuck will want to build a rail like to Queen Charlotte Sound to make it easier for tourists and commuters to work in the city….spend up large on luvvy duvvy opera and arts….cut public services while inflating salaries and employing consultants to recommend a “Toourism and Economic Development board”….watch the travel budget go through the roof for troughers to look at cities in the USA/ Spain/ Belize…. You do NOT know what you are getting yourself into.

      Just look at Auckland!!! Its a literaal Train Wreck!

  • cows4me

    What a bag of crap, it’s all about the council and the sucking parasites within. If the people of wellington allow themselves to be railroaded like the poor buggers in Auckland they need a swift kick up the back passage. Before any amalgamations go ahead new ground rules should be established. The power of these councils need to be bridled and this power put back into the ratepayers hands. A constitution should be agree upon by all. items in this constitution for example could be, the power of recall, no surprise sudden costs placed upon the ratepayers without consultation, the setting of a yearly budget, no rates increase above the rate of inflation.

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    This is really a stupid idea. Auckland is a living example of what can go wrong with a super city establishment…Starting right from the Mayor and his crazy schemes…Wellington will end up with the Green communist Celia Wade Brown…green schemes, living wage, light train to airport, art festival, airport extension, North Island-South Island under sea tunnel, stopping transmission gully – all mad schemes will come into play….Wellingtonians will end up paying 10% extra rate every year. Central Government should stop this nonsense…..

    • Ztev Konrad

      Ceclia is opposed to Wellington super city. Have you checked the news.
      It was decided by a board appointed by Rodney Hide

  • Angus Robertson

    Start buying property in Manakau, pretty soon it’ll be the Pokeno of the south.

  • Michael_l_c

    Let Wellington become a ‘super city’. Make sure there are provisions for the recall of mayors & councillors also a cap on rate increases, maybe the rate of inflation but an option of +1% to be voted on by the electorate for specific projects overseen by the Auditor General. Only one +1% project to be funded at any one time.
    Oh, I forgot, amend the Ak SC accordingly.
    Oh, oh & cap the salaries of the troughers.

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

      Kick Len Brown out….

      • Michael_l_c

        A lot of us wish, but many support him!

        • OneTrack

          Are they ratepayers? Oh, wait, there’s your problem.

    • Ztev Konrad

      In Victoria Australia, they introduced amalgamation overnight by sacking all the old councils and replacing each with a commissioner and then legislated for a 10% rates reduction. Then let elections occur after about 2 years. No fighting and no big spend ups on the way out.

      • Mainstream Mike

        first step sounds good – sack the lot, replace with one commissioner — say Rodney if he could be persuaded to do the job comity form Auckland one or two days a week…

    • Raibert

      Agree wholeheartedly, however would be great if Wellington could take Len as their initial SC Mayor – he has the experience required and most Aucks would wish him well in a new endeavour.

  • redeye

    The larger the bureaucracy the more efficient they’ll be. Everyone understands that right?

    • OneTrack

      It will be true “this time”.

    • JAFA Gazza

      Dont drink Len’s Kool Aid…..

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Lots of candidates for Super Mayor – King, Trevor Mallard, Chippie, Grant Robertson to name a few communists…..

  • Ginny

    I am a Wairarapa resident also and i support this proposal. My question to all the unhappy Aucklanders is, why are Auckland house prices going through the roof if things are so bad in Auckland?

    • Ben

      I suppose you think your shack in Featherstone will become worth $3 million dollars as a result of amalgamation.

      • Ginny

        Well, if you are lucky enough to live in Featherston, then your rates will reduce which will make your house more valuable.

        • dgrogan

          Ah….no. That’s not quite how it works, unfortunately. Lower capital value usually means lower rates. A house with a low capital value will never be ‘more valuable’ than a property with a higher capital value.

          • Ginny

            If the rates are lower, the holding costs will be lower and all else being equal, the value will rise.

          • JAFA Gazza

            Ginny…if you lived in the root system of a tree..aka hobbit town…paid NO rates….had no services (water in or wastage out)…then the Council took a look at your property ..said it was worth $1m….now you get a bill for x% of THEIR Capital Valuation of your tree shack. You dont get % more faclity or service…you just get a bill.
            THAT is socialism for you.
            Ed Spelling (as always… :( )

      • Ginny

        Actually, you haven’t answered my question.

    • dennis

      It’s mostly the council that causes the obscene house prices through refusing to free up land and then having excessive and time consuming consent prices. Rates have gone up for some house holds by 40 percent in 3 years partly due to capital value and partly because of a autocracy hungry for power and control and incompetent mayor and ineffectual councillors. With smaller councils you see the elected representatives in the street and they see you so they cannot hide when they do something dumb.

      • Ginny

        If Auckland needs more land for housing, Auckland must be growing, right?

        • JAFA Gazza

          Its debt is growing.

          • Ztev Konrad

            If you have a water tank then you are not charged for water by the council. Same goes for rubbish collection.
            The CV is not a reflection of the rates increases. Simple maths really. In fact the numbers show former Franklin areas will probably have a rates decrease because CV have gone up more quickly in inner city areas

  • redeye

    Can I suggest that these super-city ideas are really a clandestine policy for getting people to move to the regions.

    • OneTrack

      It’s working.

  • Mainstream Mike

    If they go back to ratepayer franchise, that one change will more than make up for every possible negative consequence of the plan!

  • acha648

    The Auckland supercity would be brilliant- if it were not run by labour.
    Left wing governments generally ruin everything so you cannot really critique the supercity idea yet…

    • JAFA Gazza

      Basically…the Auckland Super City is analogous to letting the inmates run the lunatic asylum.

      They have the power…and they make the rules.

      They get our money..increased by their decisions..and they spend

      They have the Gold. and as we all know the Golden Rule…..He who has the Gold makes the Rules.

  • JJ

    The Lambton ward will probably provide 50% of the rates revenue (that’s where the capital value lives), but have much lower voting strength because businesses don’t get votes. This will become much more stark in a bigger local authority.

  • Tom

    Why is there going to be a maori board ? Why is there not going to an Asian board or an Australian board?
    After all maori are not indigenous they came here in boats so the tale goes.

    • OneTrack

      Because maori are special and more important than other New Zealanders. Oh, sorry, I meant to say, more important than New Zealanders.

    • JAFA Gazza

      Because Auckland – that model of excellence in the Super City stakes – has one. We also pay $1million a day..yes a DAY in interest to fund the excruciating debt we are currently in. Take that Wellingtonians! ( Thats without borrowing money to build Len’s train set and subsidising fares for a million years to make it attractive to use…)

    • JAFA Gazza

      And because of that feat….public transport was invented in NZ….so we must consult.

  • James Growley

    Cost over-runs are normal, waste is horrific, people promoted beyond their ability, abysmal direction and policy introduced with no consideration to the long term outcomes are just a few of the issues my acquaintances in council complain about. Even if only half of what I get told is true, then what is happening inside council is a disgrace, but more importantly they are wasting our money.

  • bjmarsh

    I shuddered when I saw that the plan allows for a Maori Board and a Natural Resource Management Board. So, we will be required to pay for Iwi agreement to gid rid of Taniwha, scatter ashes of deceased, and develop areas which are regarded as sacred sites for whatever purpose. The Natural Management Board is there to “kow tow” to the Greenies which belies the reality that the Greenies do not have a monopoly of concern for the environment. However some of us are pragmatic, scientific and not emotive about issues like use of our valuable water resources and other natural reasources which can create real wealth which will pay for improvements of qualty of life for all, more jobs, greater recognition of those who contribute to society etc. Want a model? Forget about the Scandinavian example which is not relevant to the Asia-Pacific and focus instead on Singapore. Our politicians can learn a lot from the professional-rational approach adopted by Singapore which still has an amazing regard for Kiwis and have expressed concern about our inability to sieze opportunities to create wealth.

  • There are three major issues the ratepayers of the area need to be wary of. One is unelected Maori representatives with voting rights. This needs to be changed in such a way that they are actually elected by the Maori Community so they are not just regarded as over-privileged racial flag bearers by ratepayers. It’s a sore point in Auckland and subject to much derision. The second issue is that there needs to be a way of controlling a mayor and/or council members who are spiraling out of financial control in the way that Auckland is, with currently no power of recall between elections. I suggest a petition of ratepayers to central government with a certain proportion of signatures to have the mayor replaced by a government appointed commissioner until the next election. Third there needs to be a cap on rates so that increases can not exceed the inflation rate unless agreed to by ratepayer referendum.

  • sheppy

    Just reading through this thread I come to the same conclusion as when I heard about it – Wellingtonians get ready for at least 50% increases on your rates in a very short period of time for LESS services, LESS democracy and a lot more of one size fits all, social engineering, loss of property rights, not forgetting the inevitable massive wastage on pet projects that benefit a tiny part of the population.

    • JAFA Gazza

      Nailed it. Right there. You nailed it!!!

  • kehua

    I hope my old hometown Wainui-o-mata declares itself a Republic. Might make a fortune out of selling political asylum to corrupt officials.

  • PeterPumkinEater

    Amalgamation is a treasury wet dream. The fact is that CAPEX osts what it costs and that OPEX is the same. Nil Zilund regardless of its LG structure wants what it can not afford. Wairarapa to think it can go it alone is delusional.

  • Simo

    Get ready for another infestation of Labour roaches in Wellywood. They are resigned to the fact they cant compete with the National Party at any level in the last 6 years so they are waging war from the council level – the wasties are over local body elections like a plague so they enact their commie agenda’s on the ever suffering ratepayers. Auckland is a very real example…beware Wellington – Celica Twitty Brown will ban everything in the not to distant future. Don’t say I didn’t tell ya

    • Ztev Konrad

      Ceclia is opposed to this plan, which is being foisted on Wellington by bureaucrats appointed by Rodney Hide in 2011

  • Doc45

    I attended a meeting of local bodies and interested parties on roading in Auckland in 1990. It was meant to be a “we are all on the same page” meeting over roading and public transport developments. It quickly degenerated into a brawl between Curtis and Harvey. Not one mayor agreed with another. It was chaos with other groups like AA and Chambers of Commerce with even more diverse ideas. We forget how hard it was to get decisions on key issues.
    Len Brown is more of a refection of no one with real leadership and capability standing against him than the ‘super city’ establishment. I am no supporter of the present council but there was a sound rationale for setting up the super city,

    • johcar

      “It seemed like a good idea at the time” kind of thing???

  • GT

    Can I nominate a very experienced Mayor for this the only person in the country with super city experience. With his CV the only way is up for everything (rates, debt etc.) that you dont want to go up the only thing that will come down is the public’s trust and his pants. LEN BROWN for Wellington supercity mayor PLEASE take him