Councils move from mergers to sharing
While local authorities in the Waikato, including MatamataPiako District Council, continue to look at sharing services, talk of mergers has gone on the back burner.
Matamata-Piako Mayor Hugh Vercoe, who chairs the Waikato Mayoral Forum, said amalgamation was ‘‘ not an area we wish to pursue’’.
Though believing that some change was inevitable at the time of the 2016 council elections, he said this would more likely relate to services and who delivered them than boundaries. Speaking to the Matamata Chronicle after a forum meeting last week, Mr Vercoe said it was ‘‘not in the best interests’’ of MatamataPiako to amalgamate with any of its neighbours.
He said the collective councils had changed their stance through a ‘‘softening’’ of local government reforms announced earlier this year.
At last week’s meeting, the forum decided to budget $100,000 – $7000 from MPDC – to look at shared services in roading, water and wastewater, planning and governance.
Mr Vercoe said individual working parties, including mayors and council chief executives, would look at ‘‘where we are at now, and can we work better’’ in these four areas. The groups are to report to the forum in two months.
Reforms are due to be implemented by central Government in September.
Residents can lobby the Local Government Commission for changes in council structure but Mr Vercoe said they would have to show there was ‘‘significant public support’’ for such a move.