Hutt businessman Bryan Jackson on local government panel

JIM CHIPP
Last updated 11:15 29/05/2012

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Respected Hutt businessman Bryan Jackson is on the four- person independent panel set up by Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council to investigate the best structure for local government for Wellington.

Mr Jackson has given service to many Hutt community groups, and has been a past chairman of Transit New Zealand, Seaview Marina and UrbanPlus.

The panel is headed by former prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer and includes war and treaty historian and company director Sir Wira Gardner, and former Mary Potter Hospice general manager and governance consultant Sue Driver.

The panel is due to report back on its recommendations for any council amalgamations by the end of October. That will form the basis of Porirua and the regional council's submissions to the Local Government Commission.

Hutt City Council and every other local council in the region has opted out of the independent panel process in favour of carrying out their own consultation with local residents.

Four regional councillors - Daran Ponter, Paul Bruce, Garry McPhee and Paul Swain - opposed the panel's appointment and terms of reference. Mr Ponter said the process had been rushed.

"The task is huge and the time- frame is small. I still have a sense that the rationale for the changes that are proposed are overstated, not in all, but in some cases," he said.

Mr Swain said the panel's cost of $241,000 was an unnecessary expense and it would be duplicating work carried out by the local councils.

"Their [city and district councils] approach makes this particular review redundant," he said.

"This will be a helicopter view across the region."

Council chairwoman Fran Wilde disagreed.

"I am at a loss to see how this could be considered a 'helicopter view', and that it's something that territorial authorities could do better, run by councillors whose jobs might be at stake or might not be at stake."

Peter Glensor said local body politicians talked about what would be good for their councils and themselves, but he was receiving a different message from the public.

"I am really pleased that we are taking this move, because it is genuinely trying to engage at that level of conversation on what will be good for Wellington region."

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