Retaining local democracy

Last updated 10:42 07/11/2012

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Geoffrey Palmer and Co have made the recommendation they were asked to by a couple of ambitious politicians, paid for by us.

Despite the professed concern for local democracy, the report recommends a centralised bureaucracy with an emasculated service delivery function which they call a council.

The report completely ignores the opinion of the local people who quite clearly said they wanted to keep their local councils and local decision making.

It uses the old politicians' ploy of creating a problem where one doesn't exist and then saying, ''We have the answer''.

The report claims that Auckland is the cause of our present economic malaise and is sucking up all the Government money, and then goes on to tell us that the only way out is to become like Auckland.

Has the fact that the whole world is struggling at the moment, escaped them?

In fact, only 4 per cent of the council's income is from the Government and most of that will keep coming.

The report recommends a three- year restriction on rates while a new rating system is designed. Surely this means that the three years are intended to give the other councils time to bring their rates and debt per capita down to the level of Upper Hutt's. Yeah right.

We will be supporting much higher levels of debt and significantly higher rates under this plan.

As a sign of things to come, the report recommends special attention for the Wellington central business district. The report does not mention local central business districts and the track record of Wellington is that they will be allowed to die on the vine.

If these recommendations are implemented, Upper Hutt will become a distant suburb whose only purpose is to subsidise Wellington costs.

We have a good working system at the moment in the Wellington region and that deserves the support of everybody.


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- Upper Hutt Leader


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