Clash over super-city
Porirua and Kapiti’s mayors have tangled over amalgamation plans as a super-city turf war brews.
Kapiti mayor Jenny Rowan has spoken out after Porirua’s Nick Leggett accused the region’s councils of burying their heads in the sand by rejecting a review panel on amalgamation.
Ms Rowan pointed out Porirua was the only council that had opted to join the panel.
‘‘They’ve made their decision. We respect that and ask Mayor Leggett to accordingly respect Kapiti’s decision.’’
Mr Leggett has stood by his words, saying Kapiti’s councillors sold their residents short by opting out of the panel.
‘‘They are not seeking to get all the information required that would allow themselves and residents to make a judgment about the merits of local government change in the Wellington region.’’
Mr Leggett said Porirua’s councillors voted unanimously on Wednesday to join the panel mooted by Greater Wellington Regional Council.
In April, Kapiti knocked back the invitation by Greater Wellington’s Fran Wilde – slamming the panel concept and Kapiti’s regional councillor Nigel Wilson.
Ms Rowan said that her council gave the matter serious consideration before rejecting the invitation unanimously.
She pointed to the regional Mayoral Forum as a form of real co-operation and collaboration – dubbing it ‘‘ amalgamation without the trumpets’’.
Ms Rowan said the forum was a ‘‘ strong, cohesive and effective mechanism that is already achieving some of the goals wider amalgamation seeks to achieve’’.
However, Mr Leggett was scathing of the Mayoral Forum, saying it achieved little in the last five years besides an amalgamation of emergency management services.
‘‘It’s a sad day for democracy because all I want is a discussion and a debate.
‘‘What Porirua and the Wellington Regional Council are doing is actually getting some experts together to allow them to collect some information.’’
Mr Leggett said Kapiti’s resolution on the panel was offensive and ‘‘ bad form’’ for including an attack on Mr Wilson in a resolution, for having a different point of view.
Kapiti voted to work on reform options and to survey residents to see which option they favoured.
Amalgamations appear inevitable after the Government announced changes to legislation that would make it easier for councils or private submitters to seek amalgamation.
Comic inspiration: Ashley Wicks, who provides the artistic inspiration for Vendetta Boulevard.