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Wellington 'left behind' says Auckland

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 13/03/2014

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The Wellington region is being warned it will be left behind unless it follows Auckland and becomes a super-city.

"Wellington is in danger of losing its voice, its power and its identity, and that's disappointing" Waterfront Auckland chairman Sir Bob Harvey said.

"Auckland has become the main destination, and Wellington has slipped off the radar."

A six-term mayor of Waitakere, Sir Bob lost the mayoral chains with the creation of Auckland Council in 2010.

Local politicians needed to forget about "protecting their patch", he said.

"They need to get over it. They need to realise that they are doing something for Wellington that's bigger than their old vested interests."

Sir Bob visited Wellington yesterday with two other civic leaders from Auckland, Franklin local board chairman Andrew Baker and Maungakiekie-Tamaki local board chairman Simon Randall.

The trio met Hutt Valley Rotary Club and addressed a session at law firm Kensington Swan. They said Auckland's new local government structure was working well, with a higher level of buy-in than before.

Its local boards had significant powers and budgets, and they urged Wellington to follow a similar model.

The boards represented local communities and made decisions on local issues, activities and facilities.

"It's put the local back in local government," Mr Baker said.

Wellington, the Hutt Valley, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay are in the midst of amalgamation applications being considered by the Local Government Commission.

Sir Bob rejected the idea of partial amalgamation, for example in the Hutt Valley or Wairarapa.

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- The Dominion Post

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