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Monday, 28 April 2014

Amalgamation: Services

Macaskill Lakes in Upper Hutt.
Council amalgamation is a hot topic not just in Rimutaka but the whole Wellington region at the moment. The Greater Wellington Regional Council's application for amalgamation of all the territorial authorities argues that water is a "prime example" of what council amalgamation could achieve. The problem is that the application itself demonstrates we can have the benefits of amalgamation anyway through shared services.

With the example of water, the application points out that at the moment, GWRC provides water to Upper Hutt and Hutt City, Porirua and Wellington Cities who then provide the water to their citizens, paid for through our rates. The city councils have recently agreed to unite the retail and supply functions of water into a single entity, Capacity Infrastructure Services. Each of the councils own shares in the company and each appoints directors to it.

There's nothing to stop the other councils in the region (particularly Kapiti, where water is also an issue) from joining Capacity either. It is a great example of a services being amalgamated, without each local council disappearing.