Super council a 'lazy option'

By Matthew Martin

6 comments
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick

Local government amalgamation is being talked about all over the country, but talk of a Bay of Plenty "super council" is a lazy option which lacks creative thinking, says Rotorua's mayor.

Steve Chadwick was in Wellington yesterday attending the Local Democracy Coalition's meeting to discuss mounting concerns about the intent of the Local Government Commission to force local governance amalgamation on their communities.

Coalition spokesman and Lower Hutt mayor Ray Wallace said representatives from more than a dozen local councils met to discuss amalgamation issues.

The coalition was formed in March to give voice to concerns regarding amalgamation proposals from the Local Government Commission, and the Commission's approach to its task.

"It believes in people self-organising their local governance," he said.

Mrs Chadwick said she went to the meeting for two reasons.

"Firstly, the topic of local government amalgamations is front of mind for many councils right now.

"So I'm keen to listen to my colleagues from around the country and get a sense of their feelings on the issue.

"Secondly, the meeting provides a chance to share Rotorua District Council's views on this issue.

"I'm on record as saying that there is certainly a need for local government reform but simply amalgamating existing local authorities into 'super councils' is, in our particular region at least, a lazy option lacking creative thinking."

Mrs Chadwick said the council believed there were genuine alternatives that could better serve communities and make councils more efficient without sacrificing local democracy. .

"We're already working collaboratively outside of our district boundaries, and even with councils outside of the region, in order to improve service delivery and reduce costs.

"Rearranging lines on a map is not necessarily going to achieve the long-term results our communities need and deserve. In fact, our research reveals that the substantial costs of transition, coupled with the overheads of much larger local government organisations, can result in prohibitive increases in expenditure without the expected efficiencies.

"It's becoming increasingly evident that it's not how big a council is that will drive cost savings or service improvement, but how good its internal practices are.

She said that was why her council was going through restructuring its organisation to realign the business with the needs of its Rotorua 2030 vision.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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