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Friday, 14 March 2014

Amalgamation: left behind by Auckland? Not a chance

Bob Harvey, picture from Wikipedia.
Former Labour Mayor of Waitakere (West Auckland), Bob Harvey, is calling on Wellington to follow Auckland's lead down the super city garden path. He says if we don't, we'll be "left behind". Bob made the comments in a speech to the Hutt Valley Rotary.
Having previously lived in Auckland for 8 years, and seeing their rates rise along with the grass berms, I would caution Wellington not to rush into amalgamation. If value for ratepayers' money is the concern, then the focus should be on amalgamating council services, not the elected positions. In Auckland this is now happening, after the fact of amalgamation.
One major point of difference between Wellington and Auckland is that any amalgamation here will require a referendum. Which is why luminaries like Bob are being trotted out - the initiators of this process, the regional council's chair Fran Wilde and Porirua's Nick Leggett, need all the support they can get.