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Key Wairarapa Stakeholders Concern Over Reform Proposal

On behalf of : Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, Wairarapa Federated Farmers, Wairarapa Development Group, Rangitane o Wairarapa, Kahungunu Ki Wairarapa, Martinborough Business Association, Sustainable Wairarapa and Wairarapa Governance Options Group.

Media Release
6 December 2012

Key Wairarapa Stakeholders Voice Concern Over Reform Proposal

A group of key Wairarapa stakeholders today met with members of the Wairarapa Governance Review Working Party to discuss their concerns following the recent release of the working party’s report on local government reform in the Wairarapa.

The group facilitated the meeting having identified a lack of information within the report, raising some serious questions relating to the working party’s preferred option of being governed by a Wairarapa unitary authority.

Wairarapa Federated Farmers Provincial President, Jamie Falloon, acknowledged the hard work and time spent on putting the report together, but felt that further information was required. “We need more information around the proposal that is being pushed forward. The report is currently lacking the detail of what the costs and service levels will be to ratepayers. Hopefully the working party will be able to provide more financial information, so people can make an informed decision about their future.”

“This is not about the funding policy from the past, it is about the cost to rate payers in the future if we adopt a unitary authority versus any other model being proposed. There is not enough time for people to consider the effects of this proposal, it appears to be somewhat rushed for such an important decision for the Wairarapa,” added Falloon.

Wairarapa Development Group board member, Bob Francis, questioned whether the Working Party had a good understanding of the state of the local economy. “There are significant issues with the proposed unitary authority around size, scale and affordability. What we require is more certainty, because without the fundamental information we are very concerned about this proposal.”

Rangatane o Wairarapa Chief Executive Jason Kerehi added: “The message we need to get out to our community is take a good look before making any decisions.”

Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce board member, Hamish Edwards, asked if there was an alternative plan. “We need to do some more analysis around the working party’s proposed preferred option. What’s to say this is the only option? Let’s not rush into a decision without first considering a sensible plan B.”

Falloon concluded: “What is important to recognise here is that eight organisations, who don’t always agree on everything, came together today to voice mutual concerns. We are all looking forward to being involved in the development of the final proposal to the Local Government Commission.”

The representatives from the eight organisations at today’s meeting were:

Shane McManaway (Wairarapa Development Group)
Bob Francis (Wairarapa Development Group)
Wendy Morrison (Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce)
Stephanie Gundersen-Reid (Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce)
Hamish Edwards (Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce)
Jamie Falloon (Wairarapa Federated Farmers)
Jason Kerehi (Rangitane o Wairarapa)
Nelson Rangi (Kahungunu Ki Wairarapa)
Philip Percy (Martinborough Business Association)
Ray Stewart (Sustainable Wairarapa)
Bridget Canning (Wairarapa Governance Options Group)

ENDS

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