Report being finalised after independent review of Wellington City Council

A report is being finalised following an independent review into Wellington City Council’s governance, which was announced as tensions boiled over in the capital.

Councillors, the mayor, and independent reviewer Peter Winder will discuss the draft report at a 1pm meeting tomorrow, which is scheduled for about an hour.

It’s expected a final report will be made public next week and speculation is already flying about the recommendations, including getting rid of councillor portfolios.

Mayor Andy Foster announced the review at the end of February, saying the public’s belief in their ability as councillors, and as an elected group to govern, had been shaken and eroded.

“I want us all as elected representatives to seize this moment, dispel the current atmosphere of rancour and partisanship and move to a position where we can make better decisions and focus on what really matters.”

It has been as little as seven weeks since Winder’s appointment was first announced.

“They have done a job with speed and interviewed a lot of people to come up with their report and I look forward to seeing what they have to say”, Foster told the Herald.

All elected members, key personnel within council, and key external contacts have been involved in the interview process, Foster said.

He confirmed he has been interviewed more than once.

Former Wellington Chamber of Commerce boss John Milford was interviewed as part of the review.

He said given he was only three months out of the role at the time, he felt qualified to give an opinion.

The interview lasted for about an hour, he said.

“It was a full and frank discussion and engagement and it was done in a way that I think drew out all of my views.”

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson was also interviewed as well as other leaders in the region, including Hutt City mayor Campbell Barry and regional council chairman Daran Ponter.

Foster said the intention was for the report to be made public on Monday before being considered at a Strategy and Policy committee meeting scheduled on Thursday.

Speculation has been flying between councillors that one of the report’s recommendations could be to get rid of portfolios.

Currently there are a range of councillor portfolios, including urban development, transport, infrastructure, waste minimisation, community wellbeing, and climate change.

Foster has two massive portfolios – transport and urban development

Some councillors have associate portfolio roles.

For example, Jenny Condie is an associate transport portfolio holder responsible for transport, parking, roading safety, and traffic resolutions.

It’s also understood concerns have been raised about the workload and subsequent power one committee has, being the Strategy and Policy Committee.

This is where the council makes all of its major decisions, which are then rubber-stamped in full council meetings.

The structure differs from Greater Wellington Regional Council, for example, which has areas like transport, climate, and environment separated into individual committees.

Foster would not comment on anything in the report until it has been received.

Source: Read Full Article