Lo­cal govt de­bate urged

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Lo­cal author­ity amal­ga­ma­tion was at the fore­front of Michael Bar­nett’s speech to Porirua busi­ness­peo­ple re­cently, as he urged for more de­bate on the is­sue.

The Auck­land Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive was the guest speaker at a break­fast hosted by the Porirua equiv­a­lent at Te Rau­paraha Arena on Au­gust 3. He re­minded the 80 coun­cil and busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives from across re­gion that sig­nif­i­cant change has to start with ‘‘why’’.

He said coun­cils needed to con­sider the rea­son they ex­ist as the ba­sis for con­sid­er­ing new mod­els and struc­tures in the fu­ture.

Mr Bar­nett was in­vited to speak be­cause of the on­go­ing de­bate about lo­cal author­ity amal­ga­ma­tion and the need for the re­gion to cre­ate its own so­lu­tions.

He said it was dis­ap­point­ing that in many cases it be­came busi­ness ver­sus the community rather than busi­ness with the community. This is not in the best in­ter­ests of ei­ther party.

‘‘ When busi­nesses are do­ing well, they pro­vide jobs and wealth, and the community does well.”

Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce di­rec­tor Holly Thomp­son said the de­bate that fol­lowed Mr Bar­nett’s speech raised an in­ter­est­ing con­sen­sus, that groups in this re­gion do not have to agree on ev­ery­thing, but need to un­der­stand and re­spect the po­si­tions that lobby groups and coun­cils take.

“This event was the first step in help­ing our busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties form opin­ions on the fu­ture of our re­gion.”

Porirua has been at the fore­front of de­bate on this topic, in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ing the Welling­ton Re­gion Lo­cal Gov­er­nance Re­view Panel.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said hear­ing Mr Bar­nett’s per­spec­tive on lo­cal gov­ern­ment change and shar­ing opin­ions was ex­cel­lent, and feed­back from the event was pos­i­tive.

Ms Thomp­son said amal­ga­ma­tion po­larises peo­ple, but de­bate and dis­cus­sion was vi­tal.

‘‘What we want to do as a cham­ber is present as much in­for­ma­tion as we can on is­sues like this, so when it comes to a vote, you can make de­ci­sions as a busi­ness owner and as an in­di­vid­ual.’’

The next speaker lined up is Martin Sned­den, on Septem­ber 14, talk­ing about the busi­ness strat­egy around bid­ding and host­ing the Rugby World Cup.

Cup­cake chef: Con­nor Miller hopes to raise $100 for SPCA this week­end, by of­fer­ing yummy cup­cakes for sale at Whitby Mall.

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