THE energy of Monday night's Masterton seminar with proponents of the super-city concept, at least in terms of Auckland, contrasts unhappily with the low voter turnout for the Carterton byelection. For all of Carterton's purported fire and energy, under 40 per cent of the registered population voted.
But I am delighted with the vigour of the debate over amalgamation and, hopefully, there is a good turnout for the Local Government Commission's session tonight at the Carterton Event Centre.
What intrigues me at the moment is the sense the super-city voice is gaining a bit of momentum. People can be fickle. They can listen to people and expend energy on an ideal, but other voices can come along and pitch their positives. History has proven time and again that smaller outfits get consumed by bigger ones. Each time it has happened, the parochial factor, the individuality, has never stood a chance. In every case, people have moved on, and paid their rates according to a piece of paper with a different logo at the top.
Mathematics is also decidedly against Wairarapa. We don't have a hope in hell if the Wellington region favours the super-city. We don't have enough voting power.
Now, I declared last year the concept of Wellington's super-city was simply too large a concept for people to wear, and I believe this is still the case. Wairarapa might be the first to spark the referendum, because it's easier to get signatures from 10 per cent from one of our districts. After that, we're pretty much at the mercy of what the rest of the region's taste is for a big shiny city. I believe there is, at the moment, too much distaste for the scale of the idea.
In fighting for status quo, the "love" for your community won't cut it. A lot of people will vote progressively, because they will have an instinct, without anything to back it, that amalgamation is progress.
Wellington likes being energetic. People like having jobs and the infrastructure to do it. They'll be wondering: could the super-city make my life better. And people here will be wondering that too.
The stumbling block is minimal elected representation on a huge scale. But, as Monday's super city proponents argued, local boards do a solid job.