Questions & Answers

Commonly-asked questions about the options for Wairarapa are provided below with answers. Please submit a question if you have one that is not answered here. We will provide an answer as soon as possible.      

  1. What is this about?
  2. What does local government do?
  3. What are the agreed vision and aims for Wairarapa?
  4. What am I being asked to do?
  5. How does local government in Wairarapa work now?
  6. What are the other councils in the greater Wellington region?
  7. What makes Wairarapa different from Wellington?
  8. What options are other councils in the greater Wellington region proposing?
  9. Why not just leave things as they are?
  10. What is the role of community boards?

1. What is this about?
Councils in the wider Wellington region are considering how local government will best serve their communities in future. The 3 existing district councils in Wairarapa – Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa districts, have agreed that change is needed.   Top of page

2. What does local government do?
Local government is mainly organised into territorial authorities (district and city councils) and regional councils. Democratically elected, local government also advocates a district’s vision, embraces its special identity and represents its people.

District councils are responsible for making decisions on and delivering most of the essential needs of communities - roads, water, waste water, storm water drainage, refuse, district facilities, footpaths, parks, swimming pools, community centres, libraries, public toilets, building and planning services.

Regional councils focus more on environmental management. This includes setting the planning and resource management system in which district councils must operate, managing the use of natural resources, responsibility for rivers, flood control, plus pollution and pest control and regional transport planning.
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3. What are the agreed vision and aims for Wairarapa?
Vision:  "A strong, friendly, thriving Wairarapa, valuing community and environment.”

  • Work together for the benefit of Wairarapa now and into the future
  • Ensure Wairarapa has safe, healthy, caring communities in which families can thrive
  • Support relevant quality life skills and lifelong learning for everyone
  • Promote and strengthen our distinct communities’ culture, heritage, recreation and events
  • Recognise the unique and special relationship that tangata whenua have with Wairarapa
  • Protect and enhance our natural environment and resources
  • Foster and enable economic development and growth
  • Provide appropriate infrastructure and services to enable thriving connected communities. Top of page

4. What am I being asked to do?
You are being asked to take an interest and become informed about one of the most important issues to affect Wairarapa residents in recent years, and the foreseeable future. This is your chance to have a say; only if you provide feedback can you have an impact on the way that our region is governed in future.

Yes, some of the information is technical and complex. No, the topic doesn’t rate for excitement, but we still encourage you to find out more.

Usually it’s those with strong opinions – either way – that submit feedback in these types of consultations. We’d like that to change, and for all Wairarapa people to give their view and have a hand in shaping the region’s future. Take this chance to make your views known. Top of page

5. How does local government in Wairarapa work now?
Wairarapa communities are served by three separate district councils – Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa.  South Wairarapa also has three community boards that advocate on behalf of Martinborough, Greytown and Featherston. The Greater Wellington Regional Council provides some services across the Wellington and Wairarapa regions.

Wairarapa currently has a combined total of three mayors and 27 councillors who are elected by local people every three years. It has one elected representative on the Greater Wellington Regional Council. Top of page   

6. What are the other councils in the greater Wellington region?
Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Wellington City, Porirua City and Kapiti district also each have their own councils. The Greater Wellington Regional Council covers those areas as well as the South Wairarapa, Carterton and Masterton districts. Top of page

7. What makes Wairarapa different from Wellington?

Wairarapa is made up of distinct and mainly rural/provincial communities.  Its geography, environment and lifestyles are quite different to those of metropolitan Wellington. Its water catchment and air environment are physically independent of Wellington.  Wairarapa people have consistently made these points in feedback received by councils since August 2011. Top of page

8. Why not just leave things as they are?

If Wairarapa councils do nothing it is highly likely that another council or some other group in the wider Wellington region will push for change and develop a reorganisation proposal which will directly affect Wairarapa.  Wairarapa’s 3 district councils want to work with their communities in a proactive approach to ensure that the region has its own say in how local democracy works.  Top of page

9. What is the role of community boards? 

The role of community boards is to advocate on behalf of their communities and provide local input into council decision making.  They can also be delegated other responsibilities by the Council. These can include any of the functions, duties and powers of the council except buying, owning or disposing of property, setting a rate, employing staff, making a bylaw, adopting a long-term or annual plan, borrowing money or adopting policies required under the Local Government Act 2002. Top of page

10. Where can I find more information?

Please read the information provided, find out more or ask a question.  Key reports and background information are also available here and at district council offices and libraries throughout Wairarapa.  Top of page

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