Upper Hutt wants merger with Lower Hutt

COLIN WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:58 13/12/2012

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Upper Hutt Leader

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A single combined Hutt Valley authority was formally recognised as the favoured option by Upper Hutt city councillors last night.

The 11-person council voted to work with their Lower Hutt neighbours in a Hutt Valley unitary working group, an expected decision that follows the two councils having engaged a law firm to investigate the merits of the ''model''.

Mayor Wayne Guppy, deputy Peter McCardle and policy chair John Gwilliam will be part of the working group, which will report back to the two councils on February.

The Upper Hutt council voted down one recommendation last night in the report from its chief executive Chris Upton.

It voted against joining the working party formed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City (and latterly Kapiti) to prepare an agreed region-wide amalgamation proposal for the Local Government Commission.

However, the majority of councillors argued against joining, saying it would play into the aspirant role of the regional council and particularly its chair, Fran Wilde.

Mr Guppy argued to ''leave it in (because) we need to have a voice at that table. We don't have to agree.''

Not joining would not be in the best interest of the Upper Hutt community, he said, before a 9-2 vote showed he was, along with councillor Nick Thomas, in the minority.

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