Upper Hutt numbers up for a future say

Upper Hutt people are staying firm in their wish to remain an individual city council, part of but separate from the Wellington region.

More than 2000 residents have replied to the latest survey and more than three-quarters want things to stay the same. Only 3.5 per cent (70 responses) are in favour of a super-city.

The survey, which closes on Friday, has been run by the two Hutt Valley councils and will inform their response when the Local Government Commission formally moves on the governance issue. It offers three organisational options for the future - the status quo, a united Hutt Valley or a super-city.

By yesterday morning 3241 responses had been made with 2050, nearly two-thirds, from Upper Hutt in a return dwarfing the Lower Hutt response from an area with roughly three times the population.

A provisional breakdown of the Upper Hutt response shows 75.5 per cent selecting the status quo; 21 per cent a united Hutt Valley council and just 3.5 per cent for any super-city.

At a public meeting on Monday evening the mayor Wayne Guppy detailed the survey return before about 30 people, including just one local councillor in Glenn McArthur, who were clear in the "hands off Upper Hutt" mindset.

They were suspicious of the agenda of any super-city proponents and the expected increased rates, diminished services and lack of representation.

Mr Guppy revelled in the unravelling of his so-called "Western alliance," reinforced with the decision of the Kapiti council to change tack and go for the status quo.

Some in the audience, when the hour-long meeting moved to questions and discussion, raised the spectre of a threat to Upper Hutt's autonomy, one closer to home "than Wakefield St".

The survey response in Lower Hutt is understood to show more support for the combined valley council, bringing the overall vote for the status quo down to the low 60 per cent.

"It's likely Lower Hutt will be strong for the unitary," Mr Guppy said.

"It's likely we'll have to make a decision on that, whether we continue with the process if Lower Hutt are so set on it."

A man who attended Lower Hutt's similar meeting on this issue last week said he was worried a combined Hutt Valley entity would come at some cost to Upper Hutt.

"Lower Hutt sees the united council as quite good for them," he said.

"They are thinking 'we'll just assume Upper Hutt'."

About 95 per cent of people approached signed an anti- amalgamation petition.

Upper Hutt Leader