Don’t want to be part of a ‘super city’? Sorry, Paula says she’s going to make you

Here we go. ?National is back into Labour-mode.

The Government is proposing a governance model similar to the Auckland Council for regions that have voted to reject a Super City-like structure.

Under the proposed changes, regions would be encouraged to integrate their core services such as water or transport across council boundaries.

Regions that took a more integrated approach, allowing the Government to work more closely with them, could be in line for a funding “top up” from central government.

Announcing the proposals earlier today, Local Government Minister Paula Bennett said: “Without a doubt there are regions in New Zealand that have got increasing expenditure needed in core infrastructure and looking at it in a piecemeal fashion by council boundaries is not in the best interests of a region as a whole.”

This approach did not deliver results for ratepayers or create an environment in which business could grow, she said.

In the past three months, Northland and Wellington have voted against amalgamating their councils.

Mrs Bennett said there had been resistance from communities who were concerned about the potential impact on their identity and way of life.

Government was proposing a “viable alternative to large-scale amalgamation”.

So much for democracy then. ?Ratepayers were asked if they wanted to amalgamate. ?They voted “no”. ? Now the government is going to stick a different name on it and force it on you against your will.

Mrs Bennett said Northland would be a prime candidate for a more integrated approach because it needed significant infrastructure upgrades but collected low rates and had a number of separate councils. She said the region “still has a number of councils which are barely catching up”.

If Northland took a more integrated approach, it could receive central government funding to help with infrastructure, she said.

In the past, individual councils within the region such as Kaipara had run into trouble when developing major infrastructure such as wastewater.

Well, let’s see how it pans out then. But councils have cooperated on these matters in the past. ?There is no specific need for amalgamation, forced or otherwise. ?Auckland City has shown that the power to implement big projects isn’t restricted to water and sewage, and it opens up a huge risk where councils go on ego trips like train sets.

So far, the ratepayers have said no. ?Government better have a fantastic plan that is more than amalgamation under a different name.


– Isaac Davison, A newspaper