Have your say on re­gional changes

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Iattended a Grey Power meet­ing in Up­per Hutt re­cently and was as­tounded to be told by at­ten­dees that, in the opin­ion of the may­ors of both Hutt cities, Porirua peo­ple were in favour of the pro­posed su­per-city amal­ga­ma­tion.

The last time I at­tended a meet­ing on the sub­ject, we were told that if change was nec­es­sary, a pro­posal was be­ing worked out, show­ing our pref­er­ence for a twotier sys­tem in which lo­cal de­ci­sions were made lo­cally. That is not the per­cep­tion of Porirua in other places in the re­gion, ap­par­ently.

Ac­cord­ing to the Porirua City Coun­cil web­site, there are cer­tain prin­ci­ples that need to be taken into ac­count when as­sess­ing re­gional gov­er­nance op­tions for our city:

Our lo­cal com­mu­nity/ vil­lage iden­ti­ties are pro­tected as part of a lo­cal gov­er­nance struc­ture.

Our lo­cal voice is heard through ac­cess to de­ci­sion-mak­ing at all lev­els.

Our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tion at all lev­els re­flects the di­ver­sity of the city.

The re­gion has a stronger voice and Porirua has an en­hanced voice in the re­gion.

There is ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive pro­vi­sion of core ser­vices.

There is af­ford­able lo­cal govern­ment.

This is all very laud­able and what most of us, I think, would want, but have we ac­tu­ally been asked, or stated, our opin­ion?

Of course, many peo­ple think amal­ga­ma­tion of the whole re­gion will solve all our prob­lems, and oth­ers feel it would be the end of Porirua as a sep­a­rate en­tity.

Some think our rates, which are ad­mit­tedly pretty high, will go higher; oth­ers feel that amal­ga­ma­tion will re­sult in lower rates.

We are all en­ti­tled to our opin­ion but have we made it known in the right places? There’s no point shar­ing our judge­ment over the kitchen ta­ble or the staff cof­fee ma­chine. In pol­i­tics, there is truth in the say­ing: the squeak­ing hinge gets the oil.

The meet­ings that were held in the var­i­ous wards of the city were not well at­tended when you con­sider our pop­u­la­tion.

I know they were held in the evenings when peo­ple want to watch tele­vi­sion or just re­lax af­ter a day’s work. But if the city we live in and its in­di­vid­ual iden­tity are im­por­tant to us, could we not make an ef­fort?

From the daily pa­pers, we have learned that Porirua City Coun­cil is sup­port­ing the Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil sub­mis­sion that a two-tier sys­tem is de­sir­able.

How­ever, there has been lit­tle dis­cus­sion on the mer­its of keep­ing the sta­tus quo.

I imag­ine that is what the Hutt res­i­dents would pre­fer.

Even the on­line ques­tion­naire for Porirua seemed to dis­miss the pos­si­bil­ity.

The main ques­tion asked, more or less, was that if change is nec­es­sary, which of the other two op­tions, one-tier or two-tier, did you pre­fer?

My point is that we have yet an­other chance to make our voices heard. When the Lo­cal Govern­ment Com­mis­sion has stud­ied all the sub­mis­sions and stated its pre­ferred op­tion, it is an­tic­i­pated that there will be a sur­vey held in each area.

It would take only 10 per cent of any of the af­fected ar­eas to trig­ger a bind­ing referendum, as oc­curred in Nel­son/Tas­man.

So speak up – or take the con­se­quences.

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