What else could a su­per-city do?

If in fact it Wellington be­comes a su­per-city, half the pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try would be in two lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Coun­cils co-op­er­at­ing to man­age wa­ter, re­gional trans­port and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment have made any lo­cal au­thor­ity amal­ga­ma­tions point­less, ac­cord­ing to some politi­cians.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion is ex­pected to re­lease a rec­om­men­da­tion for pos­si­ble coun­cil amal­ga­ma­tions in the re­gion by the end of this month.

When Wellington Re­gional Coun­cil de­bated form­ing a joint re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency, coun­cil­lor Sue Ked­g­ley ques­tioned whether there were any ef­fi­ciency gains left to make, but not every­body agreed.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said it was all very well to group ac­tiv­i­ties to­gether, but un­less coun­cils made the same de­ci­sions, re­gion­al­ism did not work.

‘‘ There are 32 plan­ning doc­u­ments among nine dif­fer­ent coun­cils around the re­gion and peo­ple are pay­ing for that,’’ he said.

Spa­tial plan­ning was the most im­por­tant thing to get right re­gion­ally, but it was not even be­ing at­tempted.

‘‘One or two of the ter­ri­to­rial au­thor­i­ties just refuse,’’ he said.

Up­per Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy said the so-called ben­e­fits of a su­per-city had al­ready been achieved with­out sac­ri­fic­ing lo­cal democ­racy.

‘‘Coun­cils are do­ing it with­out ac­tu­ally los­ing lo­cal gov­er­nance,’’ he said.

Act­ing Hutt mayor David Bas­sett said Ked­g­ley made sense.

There was no need for change un­less lo­cal au­thor­i­ties got to­gether and re­quested it, he said.

‘‘If in fact it be­comes a su­percity here in Wellington, half the pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try would be in two lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

‘‘I have to say the re­gional coun­cil is putting to­gether some quite good re­search with this.’’

Re­gional coun­cil chair­woman Fran Wilde said spa­tial plan­ning was more than about where de­vel­op­ment should go now.

South Auck­land had set an ex­am­ple by bring­ing to­gether coun­cils, gov­ern­ment and business to iden­tify their re­gion’s long-term needs, what ser­vices would be needed, what chil­dren would need as they grew up, jobs, in­fra­struc­ture and how trans­port in­fra­struc­ture could be redesigned to work bet­ter.

‘‘They pack­aged all this into the south­ern ini­tia­tive,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s how fu­ture de­vel­op­ment is be­ing sup­ported – what needs do­ing and who does it? ‘‘We just can­not do that.’’ Com­pet­ing coun­cils wanted to de­velop green-field sites, but there was am­ple brown-field space in Seav­iew, she said.

‘‘We need a re­gional con­ver­sa­tion.

‘‘ It’s the largest area of old in­dus­trial land in the re­gion.

‘‘With Pe­tone-to-Gre­nada [high­way] and a cross-val­ley link road, that would be bril­liant.’’

Wellington mayor Celia WadeBrown said the re­gion’s nine coun­cils were un­wieldy, but one coun­cil stretch­ing from Seatoun to Master­ton would go too far.

What­ever hap­pened ought to be de­cided by the peo­ple of the re­gion, she said.

‘‘It should, and in­evitably will, go to a ref­er­en­dum,’’ Wade-Brown said.

Celia Wade-Brown: Ref­er­en­dum im­por­tant.

Nick Leggett: Spa­tial plan­ning most im­por­tant.

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