Friday, 16 Apr 2021

Wellington City Council review could cost ratepayers almost $75,000

An independent review into governance at Wellington City Council could cost ratepayers up to almost $75,000.

On Wednesday, Mayor Andy Foster announced an independent review of the council’s governance, saying the public’s belief in elected members had been shaken and eroded.

He has chosen Peter Winder to lead the review.

Winder also chaired the team that examined Tauranga City Council’s elected member relationship issues and was the Crown manager for Kaipara District Council. He is also a former chief executive of Local Government New Zealand.

When asked about the cost of the review at a press conference after the announcement, Foster said: “It’s more of a question of what is the cost of not doing it and not getting it right.”

In an email to all councillors this afternoon, council chief executive Barbara McKerrow said the review could cost up to $65,000, excluding GST.

She said that money would come from operational budgets.

McKerrow was responding to an email councillor Jill Day penned yesterday raising concerns councillors did not get to have a say in who would undertake the review.

Day argued committee delegations made clear all councillors were responsible for reviewing governance and wanted council officer advice.

McKerrow said she had consulted the council’s general legal counsel.

She said the Strategy and Policy Committee, the council’s decision-making engine room, had the delegation to review, develop and make recommendations to the council on policy and practices in respect of governance.

“There is, however, no stated delegation to initiate a review, so the actions of the mayor in initiating the review are not inconsistent with the committee’s delegation.”

Day told the Herald she disagreed with the situation but accepted it.

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