Call for inquiry on super city stance
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.