Unitary authority call premature - Vercoe

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 13:39 05/12/2012

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Matamata-Piako's long-serving mayor has distanced himself from calls to form a greater Thames Valley unitary council, saying real benefits to ratepayers could come from shared services between councils.

Talk of possible council mergers surfaced last month when Thames Coromandel District Mayor Glenn Leach said he supported calls for a unitary council on the peninsula.

Mr Leach said an amalgamation between three or four districts would have enough size to create a unitary authority.

But Waikato Mayoral Forum chairman, Matamata-Piako Mayor Hugh Vercoe said he did not support Matamata-Piako becoming part of a unitary authority.

"From my perspective such a suggestion is premature. I'd prefer councils look at the various functions they carry out and see if we can provide better services to the people of the Waikato."

The mayoral forum meets this week to discuss the findings of working parties looking at potential council collaboration in planning, roading, water and waste water. Mr Vercoe said the forum was also interested in exploring a spatial plan for the region.

He said the plan would take a holistic look at " economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects".

Once a funding mechanism had been agreed on, mayors would take the forum's recommendations to their councils for approval.

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- Waikato Times

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