Today the regions mayors consider a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on amalgamation. The WCC Watch poll in September said a resounding ‘heck no’ with 62.5% opposed. Will today’s discussions result in Wellingtonians seeing Superman Minister Rodney ‘Dancer’ Hide flying into city hall with an armful of amalgamation legislative proposals. Will he be wearing his underpants on the outside?
The DomPost reports that:
Nearly half of all Wellington’s residents oppose the region becoming a super-city, according to a new poll.
The Dominion Post-commissioned poll has revealed deep uncertainty about the possibility of Wellington’s nine councils amalgamating, with 44 per cent of respondents opposed and 30 per cent in favour to some extent.
The region’s mayors are meeting today to consider a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the prospect of amalgamation and the structure of local government. It will consider possible boundary changes and the potential for shared services. Any new structure would require legislative change, public consultation and be in place by October 2013.
But today’s poll results sound a warning to amalgamation proponents.
What do the leading mayoral candidates think:
Kerry – You will have to work her position out for yourselves. Kerry told the DomPost last year that Wellington could have its own Super City by 2013 but her position softened on the campaign trail, where it would exclude the Wairarapa. “We don’t have the same issues, we’re not dysfunctional.” However she also told Wellingonista when asked about a super city, “No. Wellington region’s population should choose its own form of governance ….”. I suppose it depends who she is speaking to. Will she flip flop again?
Celia – Opposed. Celia has consistently opposed the Super City concept. “I am sceptical whether wholesale amalgamation would improve local character, costs to ratepayers or democracy.” She believes that there may be some room for improvement in regional governance. With the new regional Environmental Protection Agency arriving soon, the regulatory functions of Regional Council may need some changes.
Jack – Opposed for 2010. Jack told Wellingtonista, “If not, why not? Not in 2010. The region is governable; Auckland was not. Look at the San Francisco Bay Area: the cities there didn’t need to amalgamate.”
Byran – Opposed. Bryan said “I oppose a super city for Wellington as it would make democracy too difficult for citizens to engage with at the local level.”