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Kapiti Coast Council to consider amalgamation guidelines

November 27, 2012.

Council to consider amalgamation guidelines

Council is to consider a number of principles and objectives that could help guide decision-making on a new local government structure for the region.

The draft principles and objectives will be considered by Council on Thursday (November 29) with the longer term aim of consulting Kapiti residents on a preferred governance option in late January or early February 2013.

The draft principles and objectives include the following.

• meaningful local democracy and access to decision-making;
• fair management of old debt and assets;
• the future model must be better than the current one;
• early and meaningful involvement of Maori in decision-making.

The objectives
• ability to retain village identities;
• Ōtaki must be in the region;
• Planning must use best practice and be based on sustainable management;
• Service delivery must be localised;
• Kapiti’s potential for sustainable growth must be appropriately provided for.

A staff paper says it is important Council has a series of approved principles that it can use as a guide for “arguing for bottom-line provisions” in any new structure that may be put to the Local Government Commission.

It says there are four possible models that could be put forward. They are a unitary authority for the Wairarapa; a two tier model (as proposed by the Palmer panel); a single tier model (as proposed by a Wellington City Council staff paper); and a three city model (as being talked about by the two Hutt Councils).

The staff paper says despite strong argument being put forward by the Palmer panel and the WCC team in favour of their respective models, “there are no logical reasons why the two could not be brought closer together through good faith discussion based on first principles.”

Both attempted to resolve the issue of balance between the need for a wider regional view and maintenance of local democratic input.

The paper says there appear to be few advantages to the Kapiti community of the three city option (as being talked about by the Hutt Councils). The potential benefits to the whole region of a single city model would be lost while key issues would still remain outstanding.

If it became apparent that a three city model was likely to prevail, then it would be better for Kapiti to pursue unitary authority status.

The Wairarapa Councils had made it clear they would be in a position to approach the Local Government Commission with a proposal in late February and that this could trigger a review by the Commission for the entire region.

The staff paper notes a phone and postal survey on amalgamation was held in June/July this year. Forty-four percent of Kapiti phone survey respondents and 66% of postal survey respondents indicated they would like to see some form of amalgamation.


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