Wairarapa councils plan to go it alone

Last updated 05:00 24/11/2012

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Wairarapa's three district councils have agreed to push on with plans to unite under a single body.

Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils voted yesterday to approve a "preferred" future governance option, namely a unitary authority separate from Wellington. It will now go out for public consultation.

Under the plan there would be a single Wairarapa council with an elected mayor, 12 councillors and five community boards. The authority would take on all present regional council roles.

Masterton councillor Lyn Patterson, who chaired the working group, said at the Masterton council meeting that the issue was about deciding "our own future".

"I was not going to sit back and let someone from Wellington determine what is best for us.

"If we sit back we'll get done to. I would rather lead the charge."

However, Masterton councillor Jonathon Hooker, who voted in favour, said many Wairarapa people believed they were not being properly consulted. 

"There are a lot of folk out there that think we're telling them what to do."

The reality was that most people probably did not care about the issue, he said.

A report issued at yesterday's three council meetings, detailing what a unitary authority might look like, did not spell out all possible effects on rates.

Under an alternative option proposed by the Wellington Review Panel last month, Wairarapa would have one councillor on a Wellington super city-style council.

Contact Seamus Boyer
Wairarapa reporter
Email: seamus.boyer@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @SeamusBoyer

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