OPINION: There are around 133 vacancies available in the forthcoming local body elections and several hundred people seeking election to them.
But do we actually need 133 people to look after the affairs of local government - councils, boards and trusts - in a region of 100,000 or so people?
Is having three territorial authorities and one regional council the right model for Southland?
Or are there other models - such as a unitary council - that might yield savings and suit our needs better?
Does it make sense to have boundaries across rivers and catchments, when our major environmental issues relate to ''water'' and there is a clear need for a whole-of-catchment approach to addressing those issues?
Are there ways of working more closely with our Otago neighbours - so we can better ''lever'' off our comparative advantages?
Options for amalgamation need to be researched and the issues honestly and openly debated - before the 2016 local body elections.
WILLIAM J WATT
William J Watt is a candidate for Environment Southland - Editor
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