Councils forge alliance to take South Island views to Govt
A new alliance of South Island councils will help present a "united voice" to the Government, Canterbury mayors say.
The South Island Strategic Alliance is gaining momentum after the Dunedin City Council formally joined the body this week.
Alliance chairman and Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said South Island councils started discussing the alliance concept more than a year ago after similar moves by North Island councils.
He said the alliance would hold meetings twice a year to discuss key South island issues and plan the best way to gain Government support.
Most, if not all, of the South Island councils had indicated their support for the alliance and were going through the process of formally committing to the concept, he said.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the alliance was a "compelling" concept, given the high profile of the Auckland supercity.
"If you look at the scale of the Auckland Council . . this [the alliance] would ensure we're in a position to argue strongly when it comes to issues that are important for us," said Parker.
The alliance would allow councils to share their knowledge and work together for the good of the entire region, Parker said.
Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers said his council had not made a formal decision on whether to join the alliance, but was supportive of the concept.
He said the alliance would allow the councils to speak with a "united voice".
"Although we have a lower population [than the North Island], there's still a million people here, so we're not an insignificant group," he said.
Selwyn Mayor Kelvin Coe said the council had not yet decided whether it would join the alliance.
However, a report would be provided to councillors at some stage.
The alliance would strengthen the position of councils when lobbying the Government for support, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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