From the outset Celia Wade Brown has been against the idea of amalgamation and from all accounts had to be dragged to the Regional Working Party by her Council. Celia knows she wouldn’t survive a super-council mayoral election but has always said that her opposition was because the ‘people’ did not want it.
Well news flash – the people do want change.
We have seen a poll commissioned by the WCC which says most Wellingtonians unambiguously want change in our region.
The Colmar Brunton Poll of 500 Wellingtonians shows that 52 per cent want change to the structure of local governance in the region, 33 per cent said they did not know, and only 15 per cent supported the status quo.
However, it is less clear what shape that amalgamated authority should take. 43 per cent of respondents said they preferred a single-tier authority (without Auckland styled community boards) while 37 per cent said they would prefer a two-tier structure.
What this poll tells us is that the voting public have largely shifted from whether or not amalgamation and reform should happen to what shape the new body should take. This is clearly out of step with where our Mayor has been on this issue.
Clearly the people want change and as the heart of this region, WCC should be taking a leadership role in shaping that vision and delivering the structures that people want. I think we have had enough of the egos, self-interest and job-protectionism that has slowed this debate and its time to say that a key function of the new council will be to transition effectively to a new model.