Time For Waikato Councils To Amalgamate?

Why do the combined Waikato councils have 116 more councillors (136 elected councillors) than Auckland’s 20 councillors to represent approximately 70% fewer people (537,390), compared to Auckland’s 1.7 million?

Why does the Waikato have 87 senior council staff, yet Auckland only has nine? Is it time to amalgamate the Waikato’s 12 councils and follow Auckland and become a super city? With such divergent numbers as these and low productivity statistics within the region, it is time that our region’s leaders and governing representatives move to discuss the options around more efficient and stronger governance.

The opportunity to have this discussion must start now, and the choice, if not confronted now, will be forced onto the Waikato region and its councils. Why does the likes of the Waitomo District Council have these sorts of numbers:

Governance and exec numbers: 7 councillors, 5 senior managers
Population represented: 9640

With the fourth industrial revolution on top of us, the population of major cities growing faster than the regional communities… then today there is a real need for a conversation to unlock the potential of the Waikato. By bringing this very simple fact to the surface, business is asking if there is a better way to reduce compliance costs, so as businesses can become even more productive and competitive in this fast disrupting world.

Statistics of the 12 Waikato Councils – breakdown of councillors and senior managers covered by the Waikato Regional Council’s boundaries:

WAIKATO REGIONAL COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 14 councillors, 7 senior managers
  • Population represented: 412,000 people (537,390 – Stats NZ)

HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 13 councillors, 9 senior managers
  • Population represented: 169,300 people

WAIKATO DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 14 councillors, 10 senior managers
  • Population represented: 75,300

THAMES COROMANDEL DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 9 councillors, 7 senior managers
  • Population represented: 29,700 people

HAURAKI DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 13 councillors, 5 senior managers
  • Population represented: 19,950 people

MATAMATA – PIAKO DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 12 councillors, 4 senior managers
  • Population represented: 35,200

WAIPA DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 13 councillors, 13 senior managers
  • Population represented: 54,000

SOUTH WAIKATO DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 11 councillors, 6 senior managers
  • Population represented: 24,400

OTOROHANGA DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 8 councillors, 4 senior managers
  • Population represented: 10,200

WAITOMO DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 7 councillors, 5 senior managers
  • Population represented: 9,640

ROTORUA LAKES COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 11 councillors, 9 senior managers
  • Population represented: 72,500

TAUPO DISTRICT COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 11 councillors, 8 senior managers
  • Population represented: 37,200

WAIKATO TOTALS

  • Governance numbers: 136 councillors
  • Senior management numbers: 87 senior managers
  • Population represented: 537,390

Compared to:

AUCKLAND COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 20 councillors, 9 senior managers
  • Population Represented: 1.7m people

CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL

  • Governance and exec numbers: 17 councillors, 7 senior managers
  • Population Represented: 388,500

 

SOURCES: Council’s websites. Statistics NZ – Population based on 2018 territorial boundaries.