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Waitakere rejects division

20 September, 2006

Waitakere rejects division: supports further work on regional governance

Waitakere City councillors today unanimously rejected any suggestion of local body amalgamation in the foreseeable future.

At a meeting this morning the council passed the following resolution:

"That Waitakere City councillors express most strongly their opposition to any proposals for amalgamating Waitakere with other local authorities. To retain the sustainable and resilient nature of the Eco City, Waitakere needs to remain a city in its own right that works collaboratively with neighbouring local authorities in the Auckland Region."

The resolution comes after several weeks of debate and discussion over the future of the Auckland region.

The resolution was put forward by Cr Penny Hulse.

Mayor Bob Harvey, on a private holiday in Australia, said he "whole-heartedly" endorses the recommendation.

"This has been a very hotly debated issue and there has been a lot of confusion in the media, so we needed to be very clear about where this council stands," says Deputy Mayor Carolynne Stone who chaired today's meeting

Deputy Mayor Stone says that Waitakere councillors also expressed disappointment, and concern, that proposals for reform had been developed by the Mayoral Forum without input from individual councils.

The chief executives of councils in the region have now been asked to bring back proposals for how governance can be improved in the region as a whole - and the role and responsibilities of the Auckland Regional Council in particular (by December 2006).

Cr Hulse proposed that councillors from around the region should call a meeting to act as a reference group to assist the chief executives.

"We need to look at what can be done effectively at a regional level and how resources could be shared to ensure ratepayers get the best value for their money. Some things are going to be achieved best when they are delivered locally and some by collective action and we need a system to ensure that the best results are delivered with maximum efficiency,"Cr Hulse says.

ENDS

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