Porirua must be ready for amalgamation talk
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.