I THINK one of the major difficulties with the amalgamation concept is that no one can really explain how it's all going to work. But, at the same time, a lot of people aren't too sure how local government works at its current level.
Since systems of government in New Zealand benefit from the varied practice of nearly 200 years, I'd be pretty confident that a super-city governance is not a step into anarchy.
In and of itself, it will work. It's a system that could work better than what we have now, if you're the sort of person that's in love with the "system" and the idea of streamlined organisation. Most upper management types - especially the ones with job security - love this model, and accountants love it even more. The downside is we would shift from having a direct influence on our infrastructure and environment, to a trickle-down effect.
We don't know, yet, whether Wairarapa will get targeted funding for projects, or whether the big picture is "Wellington" and we end up at the tail end of priorities. It would be pretty easy to get dismissed over a roading issue or some such.
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Wellington is forever trying to sort its growing congestion, and its ongoing "urban centres" projects. It wants links across regional parks to connect the Hutt with the northern suburbs.
It would be easy for a super-council to shrug and say: c'mon, Wairarapa doesn't need its road funding, there's barely any traffic. Meanwhile, every time there's a crash on Hutt Rd Wellington grinds to a halt. Our need is greater, they would argue.
While we retain our independence, we have our own majority. Under a super city, we will never have that. Wellington has big, distracting, needs, and can easily use the will of a vast population to set priorities. Emergency planning, in anticipation of earthquakes, can also be used as an excuse for Wellington to grab funding. It's all about the needs of the many.
If we come together, we become a very small part of that.