Proposal triggers loyalty question

By Gary Caffell

1 comment

Should the debate on the future shape of local government in Wairarapa create some uncertainty in the minds of councillors as to where their loyalties lie?

Right now the three district councils are pushing ahead with plans to merge as a unitary authority and there has been little, or no, sign of parochialism in their endeavours.

Yes, there are still some councillors - me included - who are waiting for stats on how a unitary authority would affect rates and the level of services provided before giving, or not giving, the tick of approval and some who might even support us being part of a Wellington super city.

But nowhere in the discussions does anybody seem to be talking about how the unitary authority proposal would impact individually on each of the three districts, Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa.

Is this simply the lull before the storm or can the three councils be merged without any disquiet between the parties?

If you believe as I do that the current councillors were elected to serve the best interests of their ratepayers then doesn't it follow that if you are on, say the MDC, you have essentially been commissioned to fight tooth and nail to ensure your people get the best deal.

That's not to say you should completely ignore the impact of any decisions made on South Wairarapa and Carterton, but shouldn't you at least have Masterton a tad ahead on the priority list?

It's an interesting question and I would love to hear the views of Jill and Joe Bloggs as to what they expect from their councillors as this debate evolves. Filling our Letters to the Editor column with your thoughts could be a good way to start this process.

And while on the subject of possible local body reform, the silence locally on two Wellington super city options put forward by a working party set up by the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Porirua City Council is deafening.

These favour a large-sized body governing the whole of the greater Wellington region, a mayor and 21 councillors in the two-tier option and a mayor and 29 councillors in the one-tier. Let's hope the proposers will be taking time to explain their plans to Wairarapa folk - sooner than later.

• Gary Caffell is a Masterton district councillor.


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