Porirua must be ready for amal­ga­ma­tion talk

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Porirua must present a clear voice on the su­percity is­sue, other­wise a de­ci­sion will be forced upon it.

That is the mayor’s mes­sage ahead of Thurs­day’s pub­lic fo­rum on re­gional gov­er­nance.

Un­less greater Welling­ton’s lo­cal and re­gional coun­cils present a clear state­ment to cen­tral gov­ern­ment on the is­sue, they risk be­ing forced to change like Auck­land was, says mayor Nick Leggett.

‘‘If the re­gion’s coun­cils speak with a united voice, they will lis­ten to the re­gion,’’ he says. ‘‘We as a re­gion have to be much smarter.’’

Cen­tral gov­ern­ment, chiefly lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Rod­ney Hide, wants a de­ci­sion from Welling­ton’s coun­cils within a year, says Mr Leggett.

‘‘The gov­ern­ment are go­ing to move on Welling­ton pretty soon af­ter the elec­tion so we need to be pre­pared.’’

Porirua City Coun­cil also needs to de­cide its pre­ferred gov­er­nance model to en­sure its voice is heard clearly be­side city coun­cils from Welling­ton, Hutt City, and Up­per Hutt City, district coun­cils cov­er­ing Carter­ton, Kapiti Coast, Master­ton and South Wairarapa, and the Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil.

‘‘ Porirua can’t be the vic­tim. We’ve got to take the lead,’’ Mr Leggett says.

A re­port com­mis­sioned by Welling­ton’s May­oral Fo­rum last year rec­om­mended su­percity amal­ga­ma­tion.

Amal­ga­ma­tion would al­low the re­gion to have a uni­fied vi­sion, would make gov­er­nance more efficient and cost ef­fec­tive, and would al­low for a re­silient and sus­tain­able fu­ture, the re­port said.

Now the may­ors are con­sid­er­ing six dif­fer­ent op­tions for fu­ture gov­er­nance, from adopt­ing the Auck­land model to keep­ing the sta­tus quo.

Five com­mu­nity spokes­peo­ple will present their views at Thurs­day’s fo­rum, then the pub­lic will be in­vited to make sub­mis­sions. The pub­lic has un­til the end of June to sub­mit its views to the city coun­cil, which will then go into con­sul­ta­tion with the other coun­cils.

What­ever de­ci­sion the may­ors make is likely to come into ef­fect at the next lo­cal body elec­tions in 2013.

Mr Leggett is re­luc­tant to air his per­sonal views on gov­er­nance, pre­fer­ring to hear res­i­dents’ opin­ions.

‘‘ We have got to be open to change, but I’m not here to [sup­port] one op­tion and I want to know what the com­mu­nity thinks,’’ he says.

‘‘Sta­tus quo or su­per city’’ meet­ing, Thurs­day, nib­bles at 7pm for a 7.30pm start, He­len Smith Com­mu­nity Room, Pataka.

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