We want merger details, timeline

By Heather McCracken


Last week's round of public meetings on the future of our local councils drew a good turnout from the public in Wairarapa.

I was surprised and pleased to hear the high numbers attending, which shows people were making an effort to keep themselves informed about the changes ahead for local governance.

Was it a good "consultation" though?

Some of the feedback I've heard suggested it was more of a show-and-tell of what local council representatives have already decided is best for us, rather than an opportunity for them to garner any meaningful feedback.

There were no alternatives presented, no other options to consider against the councils' preferred scheme, and no hard data on what the impact would be on rates.

The council's preferred option has also suggested bringing parts of Tararua District, which currently comes under the umbrella of Horizons Regional Council, under the proposed Wairarapa unitary authority. Have those councils and affected residents been consulted?

The meeting schedule last week didn't include Eketahuna, so how have those residents been included in the consultation? It will be interesting to see whether the working party comes up with any changes to their plan as a result of their roadshow.

It seems as though the reaction from throughout the community has been that there isn't yet enough firm information for anyone to know what the best option is.

We also need a clear time frame on when the proposals will be put to the Local Government Commission, and how these proposals will impact on the next local elections - now only 10 months away.


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