Public's chance to air views

By Heather McCracken


Got a free evening next week to head along to your local council for a public meeting? I hope so.

There are a series of meetings being held next week, in Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough.

You may have never turned up to a public meeting before, and a couple of weeks before Christmas is not the best time to spend an evening sitting in a stuffy community hall.

But you might want to make an exception, because these are quite important. The councils are talking to residents about what kind of council we'll have to represent us in future.

It's important that you do have a say on this, and soon, because the councils have already made up their minds.

Wairarapa's three councils are presenting only one option in this consultation - a Wairarapa Unitary Authority - and their public statements have been heavily loaded in favour of that plan.

By the same token, regional council members have been rubbishing it rather strongly as well, with chairwoman Fran Wilde last week saying local politicians were wrong in thinking a single Wairarapa authority could afford to take on region council functions.

There are a lot of questions the politicians haven't yet answered - like what impact it'll have on your rates and what changes there'll be to services.

It's important you find out what you need to know, and make your views known, while you can.

Councils themselves won't make the decision on this, that'll come down to the Local Government Commission.

And legislation passed in Parliament last week will mean changes in structure can be passed without a poll of residents. So take the chance to have a say - get along to one of the meetings next week.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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