No point in joining region's councils - mayors

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 29/11/2013

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Amalgamation may be the hot trend for other councils around the country, but mayors in the greater Manawatu region say there is no point in it happening here.

Small pockets of Tararua and Rangitikei district councils would be affected under the Local Government Commission's proposed amalgamations in Hawke's Bay and Wellington.

Councils in Northland are also looking at merging.

Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson said shared service agreements with Manawatu were already showing benefits, and amalgamation would not achieve major advantages.

"If there was a huge benefit in seeking amalgamation, we wouldn't disregard it."

Amalgamating would see a loss of local representation, and that would be bad in the long run, he said.

Manawatu Mayor Margaret Kouvelis said she was previously for amalgamation, but during her mayoralty had seen how well councils worked together.

"I couldn't bear to stop what we are doing to reorganise."

While some residents in Bulls wanted to move from Rangitikei to Manawatu, she said there was no point taking off small chunks.

"My message to them is to come to us when the whole district wants to."

Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis said he and most councillors did not want the council to amalgamate with anyone.

The council was in a good financial position and had just improved multiple core assets, while other councils had more debt and a lot of work to get done, he said.

"Unless there are very, very, very large financial gains to be made by amalgamating, why would we?"

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy said councils in the area had enough challenges to deal with already.

Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor said the city and Manawatu had a good working relationship, which was shown when the boundary changes took place last year.

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- Manawatu Standard

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