Council refuses super-city invitation

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2012

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Kapiti Coast District Council has voted unanimously against being part of a panel to shape the future of a regional super-city.

Councillors decided yesterday to refuse an invitation by Greater Wellington regional council to participate in the process and "partner" the regional council in its initiative to form a unitary regional authority or super-city.

Mayor Jenny Rowan said regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde was leading a campaign for a unitary authority model that put mayors "in a very challenging place".

Ms Rowan believed local government had taken "an extraordinarily unfair hit" from central government over the past four years.

"Former local government minister Nick Smith continued with reforms with a position that local government was inefficient and ineffective. That has been extremely unfortunate," she said.

Residents staged a demonstration outside a council meeting earlier this year after council chief executive Pat Dougherty received a $44,000 pay increase.

The council yesterday took a swipe at Kapiti regional councillor Nigel Wilson, passing a recommendation it was disapppointed in him "for displaying a pre-determined view on amalgamation without any consultation with this council".

"Nigel Wilson has made his position very clear publicly on the need for a super-city ... this already compromises the process," Ms Rowan said.

She reminded the council that Kapiti knew how the Government could make things happen, citing former transport minister Steven Joyce announcing the proposed Kapiti expressway.

"The road is our signal they [the Government] can make things happen if they want to," she said.

Councillors strongly objected to the regional council's proposal that it would make the final decision on the recommendations of the panel.

"It is tokenism. I do not believe the panel will have any teeth," councillor Tony Lloyd said.

Councillor Hilary Wooding believed the timetable for a super-city proposal to be finalised by the next local body elections was too rushed.

The council decided to distribute information and carry out a professionally designed survey of residents to find out what approach and time frame the community wanted on local government reform.

This would be funded by the council this financial year.

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- The Dominion Post

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