Call for in­quiry on su­per city stance

The Hutt News - - NEWS -

The Lo­cal Democ­racy Coali­tion, which is led by Hutt Mayor Ray Wal­lace, wants a Par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into the op­er­a­tion and per­for­mance of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion.

It is back­ing a pe­ti­tion call­ing for such an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The coali­tion is ac­cus­ing the com­mis­sion of hav­ing a ‘‘pre-determined’’ drive to roll out su­per-city coun­cils na­tion­wide.

How­ever, the com­mis­sion and is chair­man Basil Mor­ri­son have said com­mis­sion­ers have kept an open mind on coun­cil merg­ers, and they have held oral hear­ings days in cities around Welling­ton re­gion to lis­ten to peo­ple’s view­points.

Wal­lace said New Zealand lo­cal au­thor­i­ties wanted con­trol of lo­cal mat­ters in lo­cal hands.

‘‘We want lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to be well-rep­re­sented at a lo­cal level and the coun­cils of New Zealand to work to­wards best prac­tice and op­er­ate in a cost­ef­fec­tive man­ner,’’ the Hutt mayor and the LDC said in a let­ter to Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Se­lect Com­mit­tee chair­man and Coro­man­del MP Scott Simp­son.

In­stead, the coali­tion claims, the com­mis­sion seemed hell­bent on a pro-amal­ga­ma­tion agenda which would di­lute lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion – at odds with its leg­is­lated role.

The coali­tion, formed last year, claimed the com­mis­sion was blink­ered to strong and wide­spread op­po­si­tion from res­i­dents and ratepay­ers af­fected by its pro-amal­ga­ma­tion pro­pos­als.

In its let­ter to the se­lect com­mit­tee, the coali­tion said there were smarter so­lu­tions than su­per-city mod­els that would in­volve less dis­rup­tion, less risk, fewer costs and greater benefits.

‘‘A Par­lia­men­tary In­quiry into the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion is both nec­es­sary and jus­ti­fied. The com­mis­sion has clearly and demon­stra­bly failed to fol­low the wishes of Par­lia­ment, as laid down in the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act; has fol­lowed poor pro­cesses; pre­sented sloppy anal­y­sis; and its con­clu­sions have lacked cred­i­bil­ity.

‘‘ Most crit­i­cally the com­mis­sion fails to ap­ply the cri­te­ria it is re­quired to use un­der the leg­is­la­tion when de­ter­min­ing its pre­ferred op­tion of a su­per city for North­land, Hawke’s Bay and greater Welling­ton.

‘‘In­stead, the com­mis­sion has de­signed its own cri­te­ria that jus­tify its ap­par­ent pre­de­ter­mined po­si­tion of rolling out ‘ su­per- cities’ across the coun­try,’’ the let­ter said.

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