Su­per-city not a big draw­card

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SAM DUFF

Porirua res­i­dents don’t seem too both­ered about Wellington go­ing the su­per-city way.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion ran two meet­ings in Porirua last Thurs­day to dis­cuss a pro­posed Wellington su­per-city and only 35 peo­ple at­tended.

Those present raised ev­ery­thing from rat­ing and vot­ing sys­tems to whether there would be Maori or gen­der equal­ity on the new coun­cil.

More than 80 peo­ple at­tended a sim­i­lar Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion meet­ing in Lower Hutt ear­lier this month.

The com­mis­sion is work­ing through sub­mis­sions from some of the eight city and dis­trict coun­cils and the re­gional coun­cil that come un­der Wellington Re­gional Coun­cil um­brella. In ad­di­tion, it has re­ceived 19 other sub­mis­sions.

Porirua meet­ing chair­man Basil Mor­ri­son said if there was enough sup­port for change from the meet­ings a draft pro­posal would be re­leased early next year.

‘‘We are af­fect­ing peo­ple’s lives sig­nif­i­cantly here,’’ he said.

‘‘The chal­lenge that we’ve got is get­ting into a pub­lic fo­rum and get­ting peo­ple’s sup­port.

‘‘We are look­ing at the next 20 to 30 years of lo­cal gov­ern­ment here.’’

He said the draft plan would dis­cuss the idea of a sin­gle uni­tary au­thor­ity or re­ten­tion of some form of the cur­rent sys­tem.

One woman wanted to know if a new struc­ture would have enough clout with the Gov­ern­ment to get things done.

‘‘Who is the re­gion’s voice? We hear all about how Auck­land has a voice to talk to the Gov­ern­ment, but who is our voice?’’ she said.

Com­mis­sioner Grant Kirby said a sin­gle voice was work­ing well for Auck­land.

‘‘They have some se­ri­ous clout now that they didn’t have be­fore,’’ he said.

Re­gional coun­cil­lor Jenny Brash said she was con­cerned a new struc­ture would con­vert as­sets into coun­cil-con­trolled or­gan­i­sa­tions, which are run as busi­nesses.

‘‘That needs a pub­lic de­bate. I would hate for that to just hap­pen with­out proper pub­lic de­bate,’’ she said.

A mem­ber of Grey Power sug­gested scrap­ping the cur­rent rates sys­tem and re­plac­ing it with an in­come-based tax.

Mr Mor­ri­son said the idea was out­side the purview of the com­mis­sion.

He said the com­mis­sion recog­nised the con­cern res­i­dents had about rates in­creases.

‘‘Ev­ery meet­ing we go to there are peo­ple with aunts, un­cles, cousins in Auck­land whose rates have gone through the roof,’’ he said.

‘‘We don’t like to use the A word too much be­cause that tends to get peo­ple worked up.’’

The num­ber of lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives was a con­cern for many who felt fewer coun­cil­lors for Porirua would hurt democ­racy.

The com­mis­sion­ers said that if a su­per-city was cre­ated, lo­cal boards would be del­e­gated some au­thor­ity for their ar­eas.

One man ques­tioned the cost of run­ning for a lo­cal board seat, which he said would be too ex­pen­sive for or­di­nary cit­i­zens.

Mr Mor­ri­son said if a draft plan was re­leased, there would be a fur­ther pe­riod of con­sul­ta­tion with the pub­lic.

If a struc­tural change took place, it would not oc­cur be­fore Novem­ber 2015, he said.

The com­mis­sion is hold­ing a fur­ther nine meet­ings over the next few weeks.

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