Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has announced an independent review into the council’s governance, after recent “infighting” as the city tries to balance its books.
It comes as Local Government Minister Nanania Mahuta said yesterday she, for now, had ruled out appointing a Crown commissioner.
"I certainly don't want to be the Minister for Local Government commissions and my preference is to ensure that local government and councils have the ability to undertake other avenues to be able to strengthen their governance or seek advice and support, she said.
Foster said the fact that Mahuta had commented on their governance in the first place was concerning.
“It’s become apparent that we have arrived at a crossroads that requires us to make a significant change in our governance. And the time to do that is now.”
He said the city council’s governing body had been subject to public, media and ministerial speculation “over a period of time”, which had “shaken” and “eroded” confidence in their ability to lead.
The review’s scope would include Foster himself, as well as any “relevant information” related to the council’s decision-making.
It will then make recommendations.
Foster said he wanted to retain a democratically-elected council for Wellingtonians.
It comes as Wellingtonians expressed displeasure over disagreements within the council.
On Sunday, councillor Fleur Fitzsimons reported the mayor to the Auditor-General and requested an investigation into Foster’s proposal to sell part of the earthquake-damaged Wellington City Library building.
Foster did not take a formal vote in the council meeting today, announcing the review as part of his mayor’s update.
He did, however, ask the councillors to stand to show their support.