Busi­nesses favour su­per-city

Merger ‘will keep rates in check’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Three- quar­ters of Porirua’s Cham­ber of Com­merce mem­bers favour a change in lo­cal gov­ern­ment in the Welling­ton re­gion, a re­cent sur­vey showed.

Sur­veys of cham­ber mem­bers in the Hutt Val­ley, Welling­ton, Kapiti, Wairarapa and Porirua were car­ried out last month.

The feed­back was that some form of change from the cur­rent model of nine coun­cils was needed, Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce chair­man and act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Couch­man said.

Though just a third of the 249 mem­bers in Porirua re­turned sur­veys, he said that was a good re­sponse com­pared to else­where in the re­gion.

‘‘The key feel­ings we’re get­ting is that change to the cur­rent sys­tem will have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the re­gion and there’s a real ap­petite for it,’’ Couch­man said.

‘‘There will be a bet­ter use of re­sources, amal­ga­ma­tion will keep rates in check and it will give busi­nesses, in Porirua and across Welling­ton as a whole, a stronger voice.’’

Thirty-five per cent of Porirua cham­ber mem­bers sup­ported the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion pro­posal of one coun­cil and com­mu­nity boards, 40 per cent sug­gested im­prove­ments and 26 per cent were op­posed to change.

There was a gen­eral feel­ing that those who wanted change saw the Wairarapa as its own author­ity, Couch­man said, and that cur­rent close con­nec­tions with Tawa and north Welling­ton would be fur­ther en­hanced in a su­per-city.

Couch­man said good work was be­ing done with ser­vices like wa­ter al­ready, so there was no rea­son why a su­per- city wouldn’t give busi­nesses sim­i­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘Many busi­nesses in Porirua are world- class and op­er­ate re­gion­ally, na­tion­ally and across the globe any­way.

‘‘ They’re do­ing their thing, and do­ing it well, no mat­ter what hap­pens [with amal­ga­ma­tion].

‘‘But the feed­back from the sur­veys said stream­lined ser­vices, cost sav­ings and more of a re­gional di­rec­tion could only en­hance what we have. It’s about max­imis­ing what we have and stop­ping the du­pli­ca­tion that’s go­ing on.’’

Couch­man said it was dis­ap­point­ing to learn there was a re­liance by cham­ber mem­bers in Porirua on the me­dia to dis­sem­i­nate in­for­ma­tion on amal­ga­ma­tion.

‘‘Busi­ness­peo­ple re­ally need to be read­ing the pro­posal [by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion].

‘‘It is some­thing that is go­ing to have far-reach­ing ef­fects if it hap­pens and there needs to be more un­der­stand­ing.’’

Couch­man said it was a time of change for Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce.

A new ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor would be ap­pointed shortly, re­plac­ing Holly Thomp­son, and there was a new chair­man and sev­eral new board mem­bers.

Closer re­la­tion­ships with the re­gion’s other cham­bers was a pri­or­ity, he said. ‘‘It’s an ex­cit­ing time. ‘‘We’re go­ing in a new di­rec­tion and our membership is grow­ing and we want to keep build­ing it.’’

Once the com­mis­sion has con­sid­ered the 8700 sub­mis­sions and re­leased its fi­nal pro­posal, Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce mem­bers would be sur­veyed again, Couch­man said.


Chang­ing times: Peter Couch­man, chair­man of Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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