Su­per-city pro­posal heav­ily de­feated

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

The much-de­bated plan for a Welling­ton re­gional su­per-city was ditched last Tues­day.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion canned its draft pro­posal for a two-tier sin­gle author­ity re­plac­ing Welling­ton, Hutt, Kapiti, Porirua coun­cils, Wairarapa’s three coun­cils and Welling­ton re­gional coun­cil, cit­ing over­whelm­ing public op­po­si­tion.

Although the ma­jor­ity of sub­mit­ters op­posed the pro­posal, there was a level of sup­port for some change and the com­mis­sion in­vited coun­cils and com­mu­ni­ties to work to­gether to de­velop al­ter­na­tive op­tions.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett was one who had cham­pi­oned re­gional amal­ga­ma­tion.

‘‘We’ll still am­ble along, but we’re go­ing to be a re­gion of slug­gish growth and we won’t be com­pet­ing [with the rest of the coun­try] the way we should be com­pet­ing,’’ Leggett said.

‘‘That should be of con­cern to all Welling­to­ni­ans.’’

He said it was ‘‘an op­por­tu­nity lost for Welling­ton’’ and said he could not see the re­gion’s lead­ers form­ing a new plan any time soon.

Tracy John­son, the Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said cham­ber mem­bers had sup­ported a su­per-city model.

‘‘They be­lieve that the cur­rent lo­cal gov­ern­ment model must change to sup­port im­proved lo­cal rep­re­sen- tation, en­sure greater com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing re­gional in­fra­struc­ture and [of­fer] bet­ter qual­ity lead­er­ship,’’ John­son said.

Up to 89 per cent of the 9142 writ­ten and 456 oral sub­mis­sions op­posed the com- mission’s pro­posed two- tier coun­cil and 10 per cent sup­ported it. Welling­ton City res­i­dents showed lit­tle in­ter­est in the is­sue.

Although the city makes up 41 per cent of the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion, it con­trib­uted only 9 per cent of the sub­mis­sions.

Porirua res­i­dents were sim­i­larly lack­ing in in­ter­est.

They pre­sented 157 sub­mis­sions, only 2 per cent of those filed, though Porirua makes up 11 per cent of the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion.

Of the Porirua sub­mis­sions, 118 ( 75 per cent) were op­posed to re­gional amal­ga­ma­tion and 39 (25 per cent) in favour.

The three main rea­sons for op­pos­ing the pro­posal were that the Auck­land su­per-city was not seen to be work­ing, the sta­tus quo was pre­ferred or there was likely to be a loss of lo­cal iden­tity.

About 54 per cent of sub­mis­sions from busi­nesses and busi­ness or­gan­i­sa­tions sup­ported the amal­ga­ma­tion pro­posal.

The three main rea­sons for sup­port­ing amal­ga­ma­tion were that it would stream­line de­ci­sion- mak­ing, cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment for fu­ture pros­per­ity and give the re­gion a sin­gle voice.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett says the vote against re­gional amal­ga­ma­tion was an op­por­tu­nity lost.

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