Mayors seek public input

By Emily Norman -
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South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples (left), Carterton Mayor John Booth, and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson are aiming to build stronger local government.
South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples (left), Carterton Mayor John Booth, and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson are aiming to build stronger local government.

Stronger local government is on the table for Wairarapa councils who have been working closely with the Local Government Commission since the scrapping of the super-city proposal last year.

Public meetings will be held in Masterton, Carterton, and South Wairarapa this month to seek views on achieving a stronger local government for Wairarapa.

These meetings will be attended by the mayor of each district and the commission, and will be independently moderated.

Local Government Commission chairman Sir Wira Gardiner said the meetings were the first step in a wider public engagement and consultation programme.

After the decision not to proceed with the proposal for a single unitary authority for the Wellington region in June last year, the councils and the commission focused on establishing a joint working relationship to look into strengthening local government in the area.

Several meetings, building on the collaboration and shared services already achieved in the Wairarapa over several years, have now taken place between the commission, Wairarapa mayors and councils, and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

"We have made some progress in identifying a range of options for better local government, but would like to get the Wairarapa public's initial feedback on the possibilities so far discussed," Sir Wira said.

"We look forward to the participation of the community in helping to map out a stronger and more innovative future for local government in the Wairarapa."

The aim of the meetings was to ensure the community had clarity about future local government arrangements in mid-year, well before the local body elections in October 2016, said Sir Wira.

Any new arrangements would not be implemented until after the elections.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said: "It is important that people have a chance to share their current views on the issue so they can help shape the process and the future of our region."

Carterton Mayor John Booth agreed and said the meetings would be about getting the best local government for the area, "one that has solid support from the residents and ratepayers".

South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples said: "We should aim for a system that combines high-quality local decision-making with more cost-effective services and infrastructure."

The meetings are scheduled as follows:

* Feb 16, 7pm-9pm: Masterton District - Frank Cody Lounge, Municipal Buildings
* Feb 17, 7pm-9pm: Carterton District - Auditorium, Carterton Event Centre
* Feb 23, 7pm-9pm: South Wairarapa District - Martinborough Town Hall.

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