Group works on su­per-city idea

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

Vig­or­ous de­bate be­tween the re­gion’s lead­ers lies ahead this year as a work­ing group of four coun­cils at­tempts to agree on the lo­gis­tics of a Welling­ton su­per-city.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Porirua, Kapiti, Welling­ton and Greater Welling­ton Re­gional coun­cils will aim to hand a pre­ferred amal­ga­ma­tion model to the Lo­cal Government Com­mis­sion be­fore this year’s lo­cal body elec­tions in Oc­to­ber, work­ing group chair­man Ken Dou­glas says.

The Wairarapa and Hutt coun­cils have been in­vited to par­tic­i­pate but have not yet joined the group, he says.

The group will meet on Jan­uary 23, when the first item on the agenda will be de­cid­ing on a com­mon goal and a time­frame – pos­si­bly a lengthy de­bate, Mr Dou­glas says.

The group will take Ge­of­frey Palmer’s 2012 rec­om­men­da­tion for a twotier struc­ture as its start­ing point but will ne­go­ti­ate how much power each level of coun­cil would be given, and how ser­vices would be de­liv­ered.

The work­ing party will con­sult the pub­lic to come up with its model, but how to en­gage with res­i­dents is an­other thorny is­sue.

Some res­i­dents view sur­veys as un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and phone sur­veys are prob­lem­atic for com­mu­ni­ties such as east­ern Porirua where there are few lan­d­line phones, Mr Dou­glas says.

Other prob­lems in­clude whether to give Welling­ton City Coun­cil more weight in a sur­vey due to its larger pop­u­la­tion, and whether a sur­vey con­ducted by one coun­cil will be ac­cepted by the oth­ers.

What ev­ery­body agrees on is the need to de­cide whether change is wel­come, Mr Dou­glas says.

This year’s elec­tions will be held un­der present lo­cal body bound­aries, pos­si­bly with the un­der­stand­ing that moves to amal­ga­mate will take place next tri­en­nium, Mr Dou­glas says.

In De­cem­ber it was be­lieved the Wairarapa coun­cils would sub­mit a pro­posal to amal­ga­mate with each other to the Lo­cal Government Com­mis­sion by Fe­bru­ary, but they have agreed to de­lay a submission to al­low other Welling­ton coun­cils to catch up, Mr Dou­glas says.

‘‘ The Wairarapa coun­cils have come back and said they are quite happy to con­sult with us about the tim­ing of their ap­pli­ca­tion, and they’re not try­ing to use it as a pres­sure de­vice to cause us prob­lems.’’

It is pos­si­ble the Lo­cal Government Com­mis­sion will de­cline to ac­cept what­ever pro­posal the work­ing group sub­mits, whether it comes out for or against amal­ga­ma­tion, Mr Dou­glas says.

Water works won­ders: Breast can­cer swim­ming group co-or­di­na­tors Belinda Clark and Cathy Tia are seek­ing seven more mem­bers for a ther­a­peu­tic and so­cial pro­gramme at Kenepuru Hospi­tal.

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