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Demand Swells for Unitary Council


Demand Swells for Unitary Council

The first 1,000 signatures of Thames-Coromandel residents seeking single-tier local government for the district were presented in public forum to TCDC councillors at their November 7 meeting.

Petitioners are urging Mayor Glenn Leach and councillors to proceed with steps to form a unitary authority that would combine the functions of today’s district and regional councils. The single-tier structure is used now in Gisborne, Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough districts.

According to unitary council campaign spokesperson Reihana Robinson, “The two-tier local government experiment is now widely recognised as a failure in respect of runaway costs, overlapping responsibilities, conflicting priorities, and gross inefficiency. For our Thames-Coromandel District, this has resulted in spiraling costs, inappropriate policy imposed by an urban focused regional council in Hamilton, and growing conflict with both residents and the district council itself.”

“Thames-Coromandel District is well defined geographically, with its own distinct economic, environmental, social and cultural concerns and aspirations – all vastly different to those of Hamilton and western Waikato. Local government works best when organised around these natural boundaries and groupings. With local decision-making comes local accountability and outcomes that better reflect community priorities,” she said.

“Thames-Coromandel District has become a rates mine for Waikato Regional Council. From Whangamata mangrove consents to Lake Taupo cleanup bills, from faulty SNA designations to rates charges for velodrome grants, the demands on Coromandel residents have been increasingly wrong and unfair.”

Robinson says TCDC should consider several Eastern Waikato unitary council options, including associations with neighbouring Hauraki and Matamata-Piako districts with which they have natural affinities.

Petition orgaanisers are continuing to collect signatures.

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