A single unitary authority for Northland is not in the best interest of Whangarei, which does not want the amalgamation, and the process is lacking detail and has been rushed, Whangarei District Council has told the Local Government Commission.
The commission is consulting on its proposal to combine the Northland regional and Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara district councils into a single authority as early as 2015, and is hearing some of the 1850 submissions received on the proposal this week and next.
Yesterday commissioners Basil Morrison, Grant Kirkby and Anne Carter heard the first of two days of submissions in the Whangarei District Council chambers, including from the WDC, NRC, Chamber of Commerce and Northland Inc.
WDC chief executive Mark Simpson said the commission's proposal was not wanted by Whangarei, with 90 per cent of the 1850 submissions opposed, while 71 per cent of Whangarei people surveyed by the WDC were against it.
"All make it abundantly clear that there is no demonstrable support for the proposal for a single unitary authority in Northland," the WDC submission said.
Mr Simpson said amalgamation would likely lead to rate rises for Whangarei ratepayers of up to $400 extra a year.
"The community feels this has been forced on them. They want it stopped at this point and the status quo retained," he said.
The council did not support the commission's contention that a merger would give "one voice" for Northland.
Councillor John Williamson said the "one voice" argument was just rhetoric and was promoted to make things easier for central government rather than make things better for Northlanders.
Councillor Greg Innes said the numbers opposed to the proposal showed there was no demonstrable support for amalgamation.
But commissioner Mr Morrison said: "It doesn't mean 51 per cent, it doesn't mean the majority, it means support has to be demonstrated [for it]."
He said the commission would conduct its own survey of Northlanders' views and a decision would be made after that on whether to take the proposal further.
Meanwhile, the NRC told the commissioners it cannot support the proposal and has asked the commission to do more work, then issue a fresh draft.
Council chairman Bill Shepherd said at the heart of its opposition to the current recommendation was the commission's heavy reliance on "community boards".