Business backs one combined district council
‘‘It is going to make things easier, especially for those in the building industry.’’
Wairarapa business leaders are backing a combined Wairarapa council in the upcoming referendum, but they are not without opposition.
A recent Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce survey showed over 93 per cent of its members support the Local Government Commission’s proposal to amalgamate Wairarapa’s three councils.
Chief executive Catherine Rossiter-Stead said given a mandate by the majority of members, the chamber is taking a leadership position in advocating that the region will be stronger by working together.
‘‘Wairarapa is one economy. It’s not three separate economies. We need to make sure there is consistency across that economy and we need to have an economic strategy,’’ she said.
‘‘A number of business leaders from several business sectors have already come forward with their reasons for supporting a single council, and the Chamber will be helping these leaders voice their reasons.’’
Prominent Masterton developer David Borman is among a group of businesspeople providing funding for a pro- amalgamation campaign that has started.
He said one council would benefit the whole of Wairarapa and make doing business more streamlined for those wanting to develop the region.
‘‘It is going to make things easier, especially for those in the building industry. Each council has criteria which are different, but under one council it would be the same and we’ll know where we are,’’ he said.
He said the main offices of the council should be based in Masterton because most of the population base is there.
Postal ballots will be sent out the week beginning November 20, three weeks ahead of the poll closing date of December 12.
If 50 per cent or more of ballots oppose the proposal, it will not go ahead.
If there is majority support the proposal will go ahead, and the Local Government Commission will start the process of setting up a new combined Wairarapa District Council.
Carterton-based organisation Wairarapa Voice have made their opposition to the proposal well known and they have mobilised activities leading up to the polling date to spread the word.
Spokesman Mike Osborne said their primary objective is to make sure people are informed about the referendum, but they also want residents to understand the possible pitfalls of a combined council.
He said there was scant evi- dence that ‘‘bigger is better’’ and said the proposal put forward by the commission was weak.
‘‘We don’t actually believe that amalgamation actually works. We haven’t seen any case studies or any materials that reference where these benefits have actually happened,’’ Osborne said.