Nelson gives nod to partnership

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 11:30 08/08/2012

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Joint purchasing and shared services are a step closer for Top of the South councils.

The Nelson City Council yesterday gave its support to a top of the South Island accord to form a three-way partnership with neighbours Marlborough and Tasman District Councils.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the agreement was encouraging.

Tasman District Council signed up last week and Marlborough District Council is expected to formally approve signing the agreement at its meeting tomorrow. It has already been recommended by the council's community and financial planning committee.

The agreement sets out a memorandum of understanding between the three councils which will lead to proposals for joint purchasing and shared services.

Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio said the agreement cemented what was already a co-operative relationship with our neighbours.

“This arrangement will mean that as partners we are making a commitment to our residents to take advantage of opportunities to get more cost efficiency. While we already work with the other two councils in many areas, this agreement to step it up a notch should give real results, while not losing sight of the uniqueness of each area.”

Mr Sowman said there had been a "real shift" in the attitudes of other councils to work together.

"We're all heading in the same direction."

Roading would be the area the three councils would work on, so that they could be more efficient and make savings.

"It didn't make sense to me that Marlborough be responsible for roads half-way up the Rai Saddle and Nelson responsible for the rest."

Mr Sowman said the Marlborough Roads model, where state highways and council-owned roads were maintained by the same organisation, had made "considerable" savings in Marlborough.

"Once we work through roading, we will look at other areas where we have synergies."

He said it was encouraging to have agreement to move forward.

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- The Marlborough Express

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