An anonymous petition is doing the rounds in Foxton to collect signatures for boundary changes that would take Foxton and Foxton Beach into the Manawatū District and out of Horowhenua.
But the petition doesn't say anything about who initiated it, nor what to do with any signatures collected.
It lists 11 points of discontent, such as: the perceived $100 million debt of Horowhenua District Council, calling it a liability too great for ratepayers; the possible departure of Opiki and Tokomaru to Palmerston North, which will increase the rate burden on those who remain in Horowhenua; the lack of development contributions asked from property developers that costs ratepayers money; discharges into the Manawatū River from upstream; and a weak community board.
Local councillor Neville Gimblett said he wasn't surprised by the petition.
"It was foreshadowed when Tokomaru and Opiki residents began to push for their boundary change. I think it is just a distraction from the upcoming election."
Foxton Community Board chairman David Roache said he was intrigued as he hadn't heard anything about it.
"When the amalgamation happened, 25-30 years ago, we weren't happy about it, but we have learnt to live with it."
Councillor Ross Brannigan said the whole idea is a mystery to him.
"Palmerston North and the Manawatū District are the ones discharging into the river."
He said the idea of Foxton and Foxton beach going to Manawatū was mooted during the Longterm Plan deliberations but hadn't gone anywhere then.
The petition also lists "apparent disregard of liquefaction and climate change effects affecting the Holben Reserve; a planned 500 plus house development on land prone to flooding while LGNZ is promoting a managed retreat from the beach, as well as an apparent lack of transparency and accountability at HDC plus the fact that the river forms a natural boundary."
It also demands protection of the Foxton Beach Freeholding Account – exclusively for the benefit of Foxton Beach residents. It comes with a list for people's names and contact details should they wish to support the petition.
Horowhenua District Council's Group Manager Corporate Services Mark Lester response to the petition was:
"Applications for reorganising district boundaries are submitted to the Local Government Commission, which will assess whether enough information has been provided and if evidence of community support for reorganisation has been demonstrated.
"Should the Commission decide to progress with the application, it will trigger a process of public notification, consultation with the affected district, and consideration of practicable options for local government in the affected area.
"The process is led by the Local Government Commission, and the Commission's website provides a diagram with a good overview of the steps involved - http://www.lgc.govt.nz/the-reorganisation-process/
"Horowhenua District Council would participate constructively in any proposed boundary change under consideration by the Local Government Commission.
"Council is proud to have the Foxton and Foxton Beach communities as part of the Horowhenua District, and over the years has invested heavily in service and amenity infrastructure to develop and grow these parts of our district."
The council's Strategic Planner, Tiffany Gower, said:
"Our district is growing and Foxton Beach continues to be a popular beach settlement. The Horowhenua Growth Strategy 2040 (which Council adopted in November 2018) identifies an area for where future residential growth could occur at Foxton Beach.
Council is currently developing a Master Plan for the Foxton Beach Growth Area. Master Plans guide how an area should be developed and this Master Plan will aim to ensure the area is well connected with existing developed areas and that the unique environmental, cultural, social and economic values associated with the site are taken into account.
"The Master Plan development process includes assessing the challenges and risks associated with developing the identified growth area such as potential flood risk or liquefaction risk and considers appropriate ways of managing or mitigating these risks.
"The Master Plan is being developed in consultation with affected landowners and key stakeholders, with public consultation planned for the future."