Busi­ness backs one com­bined district coun­cil

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - PIERS FULLER

‘‘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.

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