New lobby group backs super-city

WALT DICKSON
Last updated 10:41 14/05/2014

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Advocates for a region-wide super-city have welcomed the formation of a new group also championing the amalgamation of the nine councils across the Wellington region.

Better Wellington is a working party made up of business people from different sectors of Wellington City.

They all believe that amalgamation is the best way forward for the wider Wellington region.

The jury is still out on the future make-up of local government in the region.

Among the many options currently being considered by Local Government Commission (LGC) is the amalgamation of the nine councils in the Wellington region into one council.

Better Wellington spokesman John Shewan says the amalgamation proposal represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of Wellington to come together to create a more resilient, responsive, and competitive region.

"Shifting to a single council would allow us to take a bird's-eye view of the needs of the whole region and to think strategically about where we direct our energy and resources," Shewan says.

Better Wairarapa spokeswoman and Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stephanie Gundersen-Reid says the formation of the new group is a "positive move forward".

"Having another voice helps add to the discussion," Gundersen-Reid says.

Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Bleakley says having such a group led by someone of Shewan's expertise and profile would give the arguments even more weight than they have had.

"Like the chamber, Better Wellington strongly supports the two- tier local boards system used in Auckland," Bleakley says.

"That model will give residents real control over local issues that matter to them."

The three Wairarapa district councils have applied to split from Greater Wellington and form a single unitary authority to look after both district and regional council responsibilities.

The LGC was expected to make a recommendations on its preferred option for feedback in March.

That has now been pushed out with an update on progress expected in June.

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- Wairarapa News

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