Large crowds for meetings

By Amie Hickland

Wairarapa ratepayers have turned out in large numbers for the first of a series of public meetings about the future governance of the region being held this week.

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark chaired the meeting held in Carterton on Monday night, which he estimated 170 people attended.

He felt people came away from the meeting with more clarification on the issues - particularly around the fact the Greater Wellington Regional Council would no longer exist under any of the options being considered throughout the Wellington region.

Mr Mark said residents seemed to fundamentally believe Wairarapa should not be governed from Wellington.

"I'm quite confident that we have the support, and strong support, with that. I'm confident the vast majority went away [from the meeting] very positive," he said.

"Regardless of what people's views are of the two options, at the end of the day it is the Local Government Commission who will judge our proposal and they will make the decision as to whether it's viable."

About 65 people attended the public meeting in Featherston, said South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples.

The main concerns raised were about the process around public consultation and the proposal to the Local Government Commission as well as how rates would be impacted.

"People were very interested in that and wanted to know how it's going to affect their rates."

She said queries about rates issues were very difficult to answer as any new organisation would have their own new funding structure.

Meetings are being held throughout Wairarapa this week as part of consultation on the councils' preferred option, a Wairarapa Unitary Authority.

The Greytown meeting was held last night, and a meeting at Martinborough Town Hall will be held at 7pm tonight.

Masterton's meeting will be held at Frank Cody Lounge from 7.30pm tomorrow.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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