I CERTAINLY didn't call it correctly when it came to the super-city process for the Wellington region. I had predicted, with all the time spent on the damn thing, that the whole game would be played out to the bitter end, including the referendum, with a bad hand of cards.
The Local Government Commission, in putting forward its one-council proposal in December, put the economical over the emotional. I can't particularly blame them for doing that, because they will, in good faith, weigh up what they think the best option would be economically.
If the figures look good, then why not? But that's the thinking of an accountant, without taking the human factor into consideration.
They could also argue the democratic process allowed for the human factor, in the opportunity for submissions. In that, the public have demonstrably chosen. And I'm not surprised the commission didn't come up with a new draft proposal, which it was entitled to do. There is a sense of: stuff it, if you don't like it, let's start at the beginning, and councils can come up with the ideas.
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Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown's suggestion of the local authorities following similar lines to the district health boards sounds pretty good, in that we'd have Wellington/Kapiti, Hutt and Wairarapa. People also seem generally in favour of keeping the Greater Wellington Regional Council, I suspect because of the scare tactics employed over the missing millions. The shortfall, if Wairarapa went alone, sounded logical but was never able to be put to bed. The idea of paying more rates played on the minds of residents; it was a weapon used to exaggerated effect by opponents of the unitary authority, and the Local Government Commission appeared to confirm it.
The mayors are right in one thing: with this experience behind us we can do better with a proposal. As well as all three councils being closer, it's been an educational process for them and for the ratepayers.
Sometimes, declaring firmly what you don't want is half the decision towards what you do want.