‘Su­per City’ op­tion gets lit­tle sup­port

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Re­tain­ing Welling­ton re­gion’s eight city coun­cils and strength­en­ing the Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil, was the favoured op­tion at a ‘‘su­per city’’ meet­ing in Porirua last week.

More than 150 peo­ple gath­ered for a pub­lic fo­rum on the su­per city is­sue last Thurs­day night, and most who spoke were in favour of two-tier lo­cal gov­ern­ment, one of six op­tions be­ing dis­cussed across the re­gion.

Six com­mu­nity lead­ers had five min­utes each to com­ment on amal­ga­ma­tion, af­ter which mem­bers of the pub­lic had two min­utes to put for­ward their views.

Cre­at­ing a Welling­ton su­per city would be of most ben­e­fit to Welling­ton city, busi­ness­man and com­mu­nity vol­un­teer Chris Kirk-Burn­nand said.

‘‘Do we want to be re­spon­si­ble for the high costs of Welling­ton City? Ab­so­lutely not.’’

Porirua’s high rates were al­ready crip­pling our busi­nesses, he said.

‘‘If we con­tinue like we have here the last 10 years we will be rated out of ex­is­tence and we will have no soul left.’’

How­ever, com­bin­ing on some ven­tures with Welling­ton, Hutt City and Up­per Hutt City coun­cils would ben­e­fit Porirua. For ex­am­ple, Kil­birnie’s in­door sports cen­tre could have been built some­where more ac­ces­si­ble to Porirua play­ers.

‘‘It’s not about su­per city. It’s about eco­nomic ef­fi­ciency and

com­mu­nit’y Busi­ness­man and vol­un­teer Chris Kirk-Burn­nand in­di­vid­ual free­doms for ev­ery­body.’’

Lind­say Gow, for­mer en­vi­ron­ment min­istry deputy sec­re­tary, said Porirua does not have the wealth base of other coun­cils and a de­gree of amal­ga­ma­tion would ease rates in­creases.

‘‘Clearly this won­der­ful city isn’t go­ing to last if the rate in­creases keep go­ing at the rate they’re go­ing.’’

The only cham­pion of re­tain­ing the sta­tus quo was Whitby Sec­tions di­rec­tor David Brad­ford, who was mayor of Queen­stown dur­ing 1989’s lo­cal body amal­ga­ma­tions. Amal­ga­ma­tion re­sults in a lum­ber­ing, face­less gov­ern­ing body with lit­tle lo­cal in­put, he said.

There was strong sup­port from most speak­ers for re­tain­ing lo­cal con­trol of de­ci­sion-mak­ing no mat­ter what model is adopted, with speaker Robyn Moore em­pha­sis­ing the suc­cess of Porirua’s vil­lage plans.

Sup­port for a su­per city model came from the Maori com­mu­nity.

Lo­cal iwi Ngati Toa ex­tends from Kapiti to Marl­bor­ough, so has a wider per­spec­tive al­ready, pro-vice chan­cel­lor of Vic­to­ria Univer­sity Piri Sci­as­cia said.

‘‘It’s about look­ing be­yond the con­fines of Porirua.’’

Maori opin­ion must be in­cluded in an amal­ga­ma­tion de­ci­sion, Can­nons Creek res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Aporo Joyce said.

‘‘The is­sue of Maori par­tic­i­pa­tion must be ad­dressed early. Avoid it be­ing an af­ter­thought, with the fury that’s go­ing to em­anate from that.’’

Con­cerns were voiced from the pub­lic that the sub­mis­sions clos­ing date, June 30, was too soon for the com­mu­nity to prop­erly re­spond.

How­ever, Porirua City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son re­as­sured the crowd there would be fur­ther pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion later, and late sub­mis­sions this round would be read.

He did not rule out a re­port be­ing com­mis­sioned to al­low the wider Porirua pub­lic to fully un­der­stand and com­ment on the amal­ga­ma­tion op­tions.

The six op­tions come from a Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers re­port com­mis­sioned by Welling­ton’s may­ors, but the may­ors have not adopted it and are open to all sug­gested mod­els.

Mr Simp­son said a re­gional pre­ferred op­tion would be adopted, and this may be found out­side of the six op­tions, as Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers based its re­search on Auck­land’s very dif­fer­ent needs.

‘‘The ob­jec­tive of this de­bate in Welling­ton is to im­prove ef­fi­ciency, not to fix dis­func­tion­al­ity like Auck­land.’’

Socks galore: Eli­jah Pau’u from Can­nons Creek School does his part in the world record at­tempt for a 3km clothes­line of red socks.

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