All votes are equal on this regional council working group – but some are more equal than others

Here’s hoping the Greater Wellington Regional Council makes a better fist of restoring its eco-systems than it has done of overhauling its bus service.

But in establishing a consultative working group to develop the Wellington Regional Biodiversity Framework, it has brought curious ideas about “share” and “partnership” into considerations.

Clearly it has been infected by the same urge to foster co-governance that has swept through the country’s local authorities in recent years.

The working group will include three members who will cast TWO votes each, when it comes to electing the co-chairs.  The other 12 or so members will get one vote.

Any guesses about who might get two votes?

One document backgrounding these arrangements is headed Designing a shared way forward for our region’s biodiversityIt says the Collaborative Working Group will be set up to draw together the views of the region’s biodiversity community, and develop the framework.

The council’s role then will be group member, supporter and facilitator.

The group, independently co-chaired in partnership with mana whenua, will drive the project forward.

Another document explains that the Wellington Regional Biodiversity Framework is a project to better coordinate the council’s efforts and achieve measurable gains for biodiversity conservation.

It will be a partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW), mana whenua partners, the Department of Conservation (DOC), local authorities, community groups and relevant non-government organisations (NGOs), and industry groups.

Public workshops held last year helped to confirm the need for the project.

The Collaborative Working Group will develop the framework.

Membership of this group will reflect the variety of values held by our region’s community that protect and enhance biodiversity. The group will develop a framework for supporting and joining up efforts to improve native biodiversity across the Wellington Region.

The document proceeds to set out the regional council’s variation of the Orwellian notion that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.


A mātauranga Māori worldview will shape how the framework is developed. This will be guided by an Ohu (advisory group). Greater Wellington’s Ara Tahi Leadership Forum has appointed the Ohu.

In line with the partnership approach the group will be co-chaired. All Working Group members will vote for one co-chair. Māori members of the Working Group will vote for the mana whenua co-chair.

Yep.  Three of the 15 members have the privilege of voting for both co-chairs.

The establishment team (Greater Wellington, Ohu and Department of Conservation) will appoint interim co-chairs to lead the Collaborative Working Group until permanent co-chairs are elected.

The Collaborative Working Group will be made up of around 15 members including:

 One representative from Greater Wellington

 One representative from the Department of Conservation

 Three mana whenua partner members (the Ohu)

Remaining members will include those who can understand and represent a wide range of values and interests from those in our region who have an interest in how native biodiversity is protected and managed.

The group will have at least 12 half-day engagements each year, including meetings, workshop, field trips and community events.

Participants will be required to attend and actively engage in the majority of meetings.

The group will work for up to two years to complete the framework, commencing from the date the group is formed.

Ratepayers will recompense members for their contributions to this work, of course.

Each working group member will be reimbursed $235 per meeting plus $0.76 per kilometre for travel.

But it’s more rewarding to be elected a co-chair – each will receive an additional $5000/year honorarium to cover the extra work involved in carrying out those roles.


Applications are now open to be a member of the Collaborative Working Group.  They will close at 9 am March 27.

Anyone can apply to be on the group.

A selection panel with representatives from Greater Wellington Regional Council, the Ohu and DOC, will invite shortlisted applicants for a discussion about the role.

You can find information here about applying.







2 thoughts on “All votes are equal on this regional council working group – but some are more equal than others

  1. The GWRC has amply shown via bustastrophe it couldn’t administer a good enema. In the face of widespread calls for its abolition the GWRC now it appears to be seeking refuge in pseudo mystical folklore. Orwell would be delighted with the Stalinist representation arrangements they have arrived at, “some troughers are more equal than others”?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An understanding of and/or commitment to the Treaty is one of the screening questions on applications to be on this committee. Straightaway they are ruling out the diversity of opinion GW say they are aiming for on the committee. Conservationists have a variety of opinions and it is not the role of individuals or NGOs to be Treaty partners. That is the role of the Crown and Iwi.


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