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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Amalgamation: stopping the super city steamroller

Ray Wallace, Mayor of Hutt City.
Lower Hutt's Mayor Ray Wallace has called a meeting of mayors opposed to council amalgamations, reports the Hutt News. 20 mayors from across the North Island are attending the meeting.

Local government minister Paula Bennett wasn't able to attend, but:
...she said in a statement the Government did not have amalgamation on its agenda.
It's good the Government is taking a stance on amalgamation. In my view it doesn't make sense for Wellington to rush into a super city. The lesson from Auckland - where I lived for the past 8 years - is that services amalgamation should be the priority.

Ray's concerns about being steamrolled into amalgamation are well founded. The current application before the Local Government Commission for Wellington was prompted by the Greater Wellington Regional Council, led by former Labour minister and Mayor of Wellington City, Fran Wilde. Fran is joined by Nick Leggett, the Labour mayor of Porirua and the Greens' Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown. The Mayors of Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt (Wayne Guppy) and Kapiti District are opposed - meanwhile there's also a separate application by the Wairarapa councils to amalgamate.