Mayor wants amalgamation hui

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 08:00 06/09/2012

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A super hui of every mayor, councillor, and community board in the Wellington region is being arranged to talk amalgamation.

Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan said yesterday she is taking a lead role in creating the hui that could mend the rift with the regional council's super-city panel.

"We're going to invite all the mayors and the councillors and the community boards to a meeting in the Hutt with the [regional council] panel, to see if we can find a way through on an idea or ideas."

Ms Rowan said the meeting will likely be held in about three weeks.

"The idea of the hui is to create a forum where the region's mayors and councillors can meet to weigh up where things are at, share their views and, as a group, listen to what the panel has to say."

Ms Rowan was confident the region's elected members could be drawn to the meeting.

"I believe there is a real desire amongst my fellow mayors and councillors to work collaboratively on this issue and I am happy to be facilitating an opportunity for us to do that."

The idea comes after a split between city and district councils, and Greater Wellington Regional Council over looming amalgamation enabled by proposed law changes.

Only Porirua joined the panel with others such as Wellington, Hutt and Kapiti turning down invitations by regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde.

But Ms Rowan said the panel, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, has since met Kapiti council twice.

"The panel is playing a central role and we have to acknowledge that. We will welcome the panel to the hui so we can hear what they have learned and which options they are leaning towards because this knowledge will clearly inform our own decisions."

Law changes going through Parliament would ease amalgamation - allowing anyone to make a submission for change to the Local Government Commission.

Panel member Sir Wira Gardiner said last week the growing economic power of Auckland and Canterbury gave good reason for Wellington amalgamation.

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- Kapiti Observer

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