Amalgamation bid looms

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 14:21 25/02/2013

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Kapiti Observer

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The likely beginning of the end for Kapiti's council starts March 12 as amalgamation plans are unveiled to the region.

A working party on amalgamation including Kapiti Coast District Council aims to launch a "communication and engagement" campaign from March 12 outlining supercity plans.

Kapiti deputy mayor Roger Booth said the group plans to submit its amalgamation bid by May 31.

Working to the tight timeframe would allow the proposal to be in the public arena for this year's election, with nominations opening July 19.

Mr Booth said the elections would almost certainly run as usual - not be delayed to allow for amalgamation.

"The only thing that could change is they could be electing someone for one year or two years."

Mr Booth spoke to the Kapiti Observer in the build-up to a public workshop on amalgamation held by the council tomorrow, from 9am till 11am at Meadows Church in Paraparaumu.

He said no decisions have been made by the council, and encouraged the community to attend the workshop.

Mr Booth, a member of the working party, said two likely options include a double-tier proposal.

Kapiti would have two councillors on an at least 21-member super council, overseen by a super mayor. There could also be two Maori seats on the council.

Beneath this Kapiti would have an elected local board, with four to nine members, which would select its own mayor.

The local board would have a more significant role than boards created in the Auckland supercity, Mr Booth said.

A second model, mooted by Wellington, could be a single super council with community boards.

New legislation can see any group or person make a submission for amalgamation to the Local Government Commission.

It appears likely Wairarapa will make a submission to amalgamate into a single council and take over the regional council roles in its district.

Hutt City and Upper Hutt are likely to apply to amalgamate and incorporate regional council roles.

If the working party submits its two-tier proposal it will need to include Hutt to make up the 400,000 population threshold required by law for a council and local boards.

Public workshop on regional governance at Meadows Church, tomorrow from 9am till 11am.

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- Kapiti Observer

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