Swain pushes for union back­down

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Paul Swain al­most forced Greater Welling­ton re­gional coun­cil into a U-turn on lo­cal gov­ern­ment amal­ga­ma­tion last week.

At Wed­nes­day’s coun­cil meet­ing Swain asked his fel­low re­gional coun­cil­lors to with­draw their sub­mis­sion to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion and five agreed with him.

One more vote would have reversed the coun­cil’s po­si­tion on coun­cil re­form.

Sue Ked­g­ley, San­dra Greig, Paul Bruce, Ken La­ban and Gary McPhee voted with Swain.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion’s draft plan to re­or­gan­ise the re­gion’s lo­cal bod­ies is closely based on the Greater Welling­ton pro­posal, with a 21-mem­ber uni­tary su­per coun­cil for the re­gion and eight lo­cal boards rep­re­sent­ing cur­rent coun­cil catch­ments.

How­ever, a Welling­ton City Coun­cil poll last week found only 26 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion sup­ported the re­form plan.

The amal­ga­ma­tion pro­posal was ‘‘a dead duck’’, Swain said.

If a ref­er­en­dum were held to­day 26 per cent would sup­port the pro­posal and 61 per cent would op­pose it, he said.

‘The re­al­ity is that there is not sup­port across the board for this pro­posal,’’ he said.

‘‘The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion has re­ally not been able to es­tab­lish a re­ally ro­bust case.’’

Rather than con­tinue what was likely to be an ex­pen­sive process on a pro­posal that was clearly not go­ing to meet the test, the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion should with­draw it and put for­ward some­thing that was more likely to gain sup­port across the re­gion, he said.

Nigel Wil­son said there was not go­ing to be a ref­er­en­dum yet. ‘‘That’s months down the track.’’

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion had not made a case, they had merely put for­ward a draft pro­posal and ac­cepted re­sponses to it. ‘‘They have done no ad­vo­cacy.’’

Jenny Brash said there had been hun­dreds of sub­mis­sions on the draft pro­posal and it would not only be un­demo­cratic, but un­rea­son­able to halt it at this late stage.

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