Twenty candidates are standing for the Stratford District Council. The Stratford Press sent all the candidates a set of questions last week, with a deadline of Friday noon to respond. Over the next few weeks, we will be printing the questions, with the answers received from the candidates in the paper and online.
This week, candidates answer the question:
1. Do you think amalgamation would help or hinder Stratford?
Amalgamation would hinder the Stratford district. We already have multiple shared services with NPDC and STDC and I don't see a need for amalgamation.
Why would Stratford want to go backwards?
Hinder. Stratford would lose some of its uniqueness, we would certainly lose control of capital expenditure (pool replacement etc) and would run the risk of being sidelined. In my view rates would not be cheaper because larger organisations are often less efficient.
Under certain circumstances amalgamation can help organisations, but for a town like Stratford to amalgamate and risk losing its identity the answer is "No".
Amalgamation would hurt the Stratford district considerably. Our voice would be lost. Currently we are interacting with over 50 shared services with other councils. This is working very well, but we must remain separate as we have our own identity and so many unique features that would be soaked up in the machine and lost forever. Amalgamation into single larger units of local government don't necessarily translate into lower rates and charges. Independent reports have found that larger authorities may be less efficient.
Hinder, by doing so we will be saddled with the debt of other Council's excessive luxury spending.
I'm for Stratford remaining independent , I don't believe a consolidation of councils would benefit Stratford. I believe there is a risk Stratford will lose its identity and it will have a detrimental impact on the unique relationship a council like Stratford has between its urban and rural communities in the district.
Would you like someone who does not live with you tell you how to live in your own home? Same applies to our district and community. Only we can ascertain the issues facing our community because we live them, therefore only we can make sound and informed decisions to correct them or make effective change when needed.
Hinder, and it's totally out of the question for me as a citizen and potential councillor. I would expect the other candidates would fight tooth and nail to avoid amalgamation. Amalgamation is non-negotiable.
I believe it would hinder Stratford. Last election I campaigned on keeping Stratford as a standalone council. This was successful, and this is no longer on the Government radar. I still believe our council independence is the best way to listen and act for our residents.
I am not against working with the other councils on a case by case basis especially if it is beneficial in saving costs, but Stratford Council must retain its own identity.
Amalgamation with New Plymouth would only hinder us. We are more definitive as a stand alone council.
I don't think it is a bad thing to be amalgamated, but if it was to happen I would still like to see someone allocated for the rural sector in our area as well as an urban candidate.
I think it would hinder Stratford. Stratford is a really vibrant community and has a strong sense of belonging from those living here. I have lived in New Plymouth and there is not the same strong sense of community. An amalgamation I think would mean that we could loose the strong community voice that we have. The issues that councils face are very specific to the region - roading and water - I don't see value in other areas of the region becoming part of that decision process.
Have always stood in the past of NO amalgamation and still stand by this.
We don't need to think about amalgamation, we already share a lot of services with our neighbouring councils and we work well together. Our annual plan was the first plan to be signed off in New Zealand. There is no advantage to our ratepayers to amalgamate.
Amalgamation may help the governance aspect of the district, but ultimately it may hinder Stratford's voice and autonomy.
Hinder forever. We will no longer be Stratford citizens making decisions in the best interest of Stratford, we may not even be making decisions about Stratford at all. We do not want to be amalgamated and forgotten about like Waitara. The bigger the council the less you will get out of your rates.
I consider amalgamation would be a negative move for Stratford district. There could be the danger of losing our autonomy, as we are considerably smaller than our two neighbours, and representation would be minimised.