The reporting of some relatively informal comments I made prior to Christmas regarding local government reform may have inaccurately left people with the impression that I am in favour of a Wellington super-city. That is certainly not the case.
I have made it very clear throughout this discussion that I don't believe those pushing for change have adequately set out the problems they are supposedly trying to fix.
While I do personally believe that there may be a bigger role for the regional council, that doesn't mean we should weaken the existing local councils. Nor should we be forcing amalgamations. Any such changes must be supported by the people affected, and the best way to do that is through a referendum.
Survey after survey has shown that overwhelmingly the people of the Hutt Valley are opposed to amalgamation of our local councils. Such a change could lead to a real weakening of local democracy and could result in the needs of some already struggling communities being overlooked completely.
Suggestions that a new model with three unitary authorities might be a suitable compromise are seriously misguided. The regional co-ordination we already have now will disappear and the inevitable fragmentation of services and planning would ultimately serve only to strengthen the hand of those pushing for a full-blown Wellington super-city amalgamation. Let's focus our energy on making the system that we have now work more effectively, rather than wasting huge amounts of time and money on change for the sake of it.
MP for Rimutaka
- Hutt News