Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Bid to merge councils gets thumbs down

John Tregidga. Photo / APN
John Tregidga. Photo / APN

Hauraki and Matamata-Piako mayors are rejecting Thames-Coromandel District Council's "premature" proposal to merge the three councils.

Hauraki mayor John Tregidga and Matamata-Piako mayor Hugh Vercoe said there was no appetite from their ratepayers to amalgamate with other councils and they were waiting for the final outcome of the Local Government Amendment Bill which would include powers given around amalgamation to be released early next month before they made any decisions.

The mayors were responding to first-time Thames-Coromandel mayor Glenn Leach's comments last week that amalgamation between clusters of three or four districts in the Waikato to form a unitary authority would be more beneficial than having the Coromandel risk "losing a local voice" if a Waikato super council was formed.

Thames-Coromandel District Council had come up with the proposal to safeguard itself in case a proposal gained traction from central government or Hamilton City Council which did not deliver for the Coromandel.

But Mr Vercoe said the proposal was "premature" and thought that of the three main towns - Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha - his council represented, Te Aroha was the only likely Coromandel fit.

He didn't share Mr Leach's views and his council was not interested.

Mr Tregidga said the Waikato's 11 councils were already looking at how they could save costs by sharing services as part of the Mayoral Forum launched earlier this year and that was his preference at this stage.

- NZ Herald

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