Council backs people power
Power to overturn amalgamation will be in the hands of South Waikato residents if a reorganisation policy is accepted.
The South Waikato District Council supported a Local Government New Zealand [ LGNZ] policy which states no reorganisation can occur if the majority of voters in the district vote against it.
The LGNZ has since voted in favour of the proposal and it will now lobby the Government to implement it into legislation.
Mayor Neil Sinclair rejected the Property Council’s Waikato amalgamation proposal earlier this year.
He said any reorganisation should be a decision made by the residents.
‘‘ There should be a majority of each affected district in favour of it,’’ he said.
He said there had been no ‘‘great grounds’’ for the proposal but feared the status quo would leave smaller populated district’s on the back foot.
If any decision was left to an outside party it would likely go ahead, he said.
‘‘Hamilton could out-vote us and take over,’’ he said.
While Sinclair believed it was the right idea, councillor Anne Edmeades was skeptical about it working.
‘‘My concern is how are we going to get people to vote?’’ she said.
Property Council’s Waikato Amalgamation Subcommittee spokesman Thomas Gibbons saw this as a way out for councils.
‘‘Property Council would also like to see individual councils properly and honestly consulting with their communities on their futures and the issue of amalgamation,’’ he said.
He believed it was not an ‘‘appropriate role’’ for the LGNZ.
While Gibbons remains unimpressed with the proposal, he is in favour of taking the decision to residents.
‘‘The big picture of the Waikato’s future is a topic that everyone should have a say in, without matters being pre- determined by existing council structures and patch protection,’’ he said.
The Property Council Waikato branch was working with stakeholders to produce a draft submission.