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Hutt City Has No Designs On 'Little Brother'

Hutt City Has No Designs On 'Little Brother'

Hutt City Council has no interest in the assets of Upper Hutt and to suggest we have any agenda to 'take over' the governance of the TLA is simply not so, Hutt City Mayor John Terris said today.

"Talk of takeovers has, unfortunately been a long standing suspicion among Upper Hutt politicians, but it really is all very far-fetched and totally without foundation," said Mayor Terris.

"We truly have far more important and pressing priorities."

Future plans for the Silverstream landfill seems to have sparked the latest comments.

"For some obscure historical reason, Hutt City has paid a portion of landfill receipts, amounting to some $2 million over ten years, to Upper Hutt. Hutt City ratepayers cannot afford that largesse any more and we are giving Upper Hutt plenty of notice of our intentions.

"Hutt City Council is solely liable for all the landfill's operating and capital costs, after care obligations, and will shortly have to pay substantial costs, in the order of $10 million, for the planning, design and construction of Stage Two of the landfill."

In its draft Community Plan, Hutt City Council has proposed to stop paying a portion of domestic vehicle revenue, which in recent years has amounted to $200,000 per annum, to Upper Hutt City Council. The change would take effect from 1 July 2004.

"We have a duty, and responsibility, to look for every opportunity to reduce costs to our ratepayers, particularly as those same ratepayers will have to pay for a significant upgrade of the landfill," said Mayor Terris.

"The new Local Government Act encourages councils in each region to work cooperatively. It is not something we can do, or not do, as the mood takes us. There has been cooperation with UHCC in the past, in the form of the successful Seaview wastewater treatment plant, and we have also, in the past, worked together on tourism promotion.

"An idea, which we have just proposed to Upper Hutt, of a joint tourism promotion of "Hutt Valley - Wellington's Great Outdoors," also deserves to be explored.

"I hope we can continue to work cooperatively on projects in the future, without being continually accused of having territorial designs on Upper Hutt.

"However, if Upper Hutt City Council are not interested in exploring ways that we can work together to reduce costs and deliver services more efficiently to both communities, then it will be their ratepayers who ultimately lose."

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