Mergers top the list for new adviser

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 20/05/2014

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Looking into council amalgamation will be one of the first tasks for New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd's new policy adviser.

"At present the four Taranaki councils work really well together, particularly with shared services, but we should always look for better ways for improvement," he told a questioner during an online Q&A session yesterday.

The policy adviser, who has not yet been named, is due to start work in two or three weeks.

The adviser would be tasked to see how amalgamation had worked for Auckland, what benefits New Plymouth and Taranaki would gain by it and what it would mean for rates.

He said a policy adviser was new and different but people had become hung up on the word adviser, he said.

"Which is a bit of a shame. The adviser will be able to research all sorts of policies. The council officers are bare of any direct assistance like that so this will be fantastic."

The online question and answers session garnered six questions in the available hour, which Judd said was more than his staff expected.

His next chat, in June, has later start of 2pm so that would perhaps draw in a different audience, he said.

The chats are not new, they were started by former mayor Harry Duynhoven.

One person questioned the need for an adviser.

Judd replied he got a constant flow of ideas and suggestions, some from councillors, others from the community.

"I want to make sure we investigate all possibilities, and the mayoral adviser/policy researcher role will be a great help in achieving this."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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