Upper Hutt Leader
Peter McCardle will stand down from local body politics to focus his attention on opposing a regional council takeover of Upper Hutt.
A panel appointed by Wellington Regional Council and chaired by Sir Geoffrey Palmer has proposed a two-tier council system, with a strengthened regional council operating over the top of local councils.
Mr McCardle, who is Upper Hutt deputy mayor, said that would disadvantage Hutt Valley residents and he would stand down next year to concentrate on opposing it and to avoid any suggestion he was protecting a vested interest.
"On behalf of the 145,000 Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt residents whose councils have low rates and low debt, we must put up a superior option to the Local Government Commission to replace their takeover proposal.
"Their proposal will mean higher rates, more debt [even] forgetting the regional council's poor track record with the river and trains," he said.
However, a regional council spokesman categorically refuted any suggestion the river or the trains had been mismanaged.
The council had modernised the train fleet, improving reliability markedly.
Pollution in the Hutt River had resulted from agricultural discharges, urban rain run-off or sewage discharges, all of which were the responsibility of city councils, not the regional council, he said.
Mr McCardle was elected as a National Party Member of Parliament in 1990, representing Heretaunga.
He defeated Labour's Minister of Justice, Bill Jeffries.
Mr McCardle was re-elected in 1993. He switched to New Zealand First in 1996 and served as Minister of Employment in the coalition government. He left Parliament in 1999 and headed the ACT Party's parliamentary research unit.
In 2001 he was elected to Upper Hutt City Council and to the Hutt Valley District Health Board and has been on the council ever since.
Mr McCardle resigned from the district health board in 2008 to take up a position in the office of Minister of Health Tony Ryall.
- Upper Hutt Leader