‘Su­per-city lite’ plan

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

A mus­cled- up Welling­ton re­gional coun­cil sit­ting over the top of ex­ist­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties has the sup­port of lo­cal busi­nesses.

The ‘‘su­per-city lite’’ plan was pro­posed by a re­gional gov­er­nance panel chaired by Sir Geoffrey Palmer and an­nounced last Tues­day.

In con­sul­ta­tions around the re­gion the panel had found wide­spread aver­sion to an Auck­land-style su­per-city, he said.

How­ever, the re­gion lacked lead­er­ship and there were things that could not be done ef­fec­tively un­der the present struc­ture of lo­cal gov­ern­ment si­los, he said.

Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Holly Thomp­son said she and the lo­cal busi­ness community had not yet had time to fully di­gest the re­port.

How­ever, it was im­por­tant any new lo­cal gov­er­nance ar­range­ments cre­ated bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties and made it eas­ier to over­come bar­ri­ers to growth, she said.

‘‘ It’s not a case of say­ing ‘here’s a new struc­ture, lets make it work’, it’s a case of find­ing one that ad­dresses the chal­lenges that we face in the Welling­ton re­gion.’’

Porirua was un­usual in hav­ing a rel­a­tively small base of only 50,000 ratepay­ers and no sig­nif­i­cant other sources of in­come.

‘‘It can’t be a ‘copy and paste’ from Auck­land,’’ she said.

The new struc­ture ought to be based on logic and com­mon­sense rather than in­vis­i­ble lines in the sand such as ter­ri­to­rial bound­aries, Ms Thomp­son said.

Porirua rugby iden­tity and city coun­cil­lor Denys Latham was en­thu­si­as­tic about the panel’s pro­posal. Large-scale ini­tia­tives such as re­gional ar­ti­fi­cial turf fa­cil­i­ties would be at the be­hest of the re­gional coun­cil un­der the plan.

How­ever, more mod­estlyscaled sports fa­cil­i­ties, such as one pro­posed by Pare­mataPlim­mer­ton rugby club could be con­sid­ered by the lo­cal coun­cil.

But there was a lot of work to be done be­fore any new struc­ture could be im­ple­mented.

Mr Latham could not en­vis­age it be­ing done in time for the lo­cal body elec­tions next year, but it would be bet­ter to take the time to learn any lessons from the Auck­land su­per-city ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I just hope that other coun­cils are pre­pared to look at it in the light of what is good for the re­gion and not what is good for the lo­cal ar­eas,’’ he said.

In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of the Arts chief ex­ec­u­tive Sue Pater­son said it was an in­ter­est­ing de­bate.

‘‘From the Fes­ti­val point of view our re­gional au­di­ences are re­ally im­por­tant to us and we wel­come any new ini­tia­tives that will deepen our en­gage­ment with those au­di­ences,’’ she said.

‘‘We would sup­port the most ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient method of gov­ern­ing the re­gion. As Welling­to­ni­ans we iden­tify with the whole re­gion, not just Welling­ton city.’’

King­maker: Sir Geoffrey Palmer de­liv­ers the rec­om­men­da­tions of the lo­cal gov­er­nance re­view panel.

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