The Martin Jenkins report estimates it would cost ratepayers an extra $2 million a year should Wairarapa become a unitary authority. We asked Wairarapa mayoral candidates if we would have to cut services to afford this.
Masterton mayoral candidate Gary Caffell said for Wairarapa to be a stand-alone entity and retain the current level of services provided by the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) there would be "sharp rate hikes".
"As to what services would have to be cut, you can pretty well play a game of 'take your pick'; land management, flood protection, pest control, environmental science including the monitoring of water, air and land quality and provision of flood warning network and, of course, public transport.
"The cost of a rail ticket would very likely sky rocket."
He said the GWRC had released separate figures which show they subsidise Wairarapa by more than $11 million a year.
Mayoral candidate Lyn Patterson said Masterton's services could be maintained without huge rate rises - whatever the Local Government Review outcome.
"It is council's duty to ensure ratepayers get value for money.
"My analysis of many documents related to the financial viability of local government change shows cost estimates, based on GWRC figures, are inconsistent.
"During this Local Government Review process I have queried major GWRC discrepancies and have yet to receive complete answers." She said she would look for efficiency gains across budgets.
Incumbent Masterton mayor Garry Daniell said if Wairarapa becomes a Unitary Authority the region would have certainty on rates being levied by councillors for local expenditure. "As part of a super city, our rates would be levied by a new council dominated by Wellington priorities.
"There is no certainty as to how Wairarapa expenditure would be assessed and the methodology of levying rates could change to our detriment," Mr Daniell said.
Unopposed South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples said a Wairarapa unitary authority would have an annual budget of about $80 million. "Two-million dollars therefore represents 2.5 per cent, a relatively small amount.
"This should easily be managed through prioritising work rather than cutting services."
Carterton mayor Ron Mark did not respond.