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Amalgamation is the Key

Media Release

3 December 2013

Amalgamation is the Key

Property Council is pleased with the current discussions taking place in Tauranga City Council’s amalgamation workshop but it is essential that these discussions are robust and transparent to be truly effective for the public.

In the Bay of Plenty alone there are seven mayors and 80 councillors. Kawerau District Council, New Zealand’s smallest council, spends $3.4 million on its personnel costs – an enormous sum and an inefficient use of funds.

While Property Council commends the Bay of Plenty Local Authority Shared Services (BOPLASS) model in which Tauranga City Council participates, it is not enough. This model, like the Waikato Mayoral Forum, does not go far enough in making the hard changes necessary to lift the region’s economic performance.

There are too many illogical geographical boundaries in New Zealand with a rural-urban divide that impedes regional growth.

Local Government Commission recently released a proposal for Hawke’s Bay councils to amalgamate in order to increase the region’s economic performance through less bureaucracy and inter-council conflict. Property Council supports this proposal wholeheartedly.

Waikato is another example where too many councils with a dwindling rating base and rising debt have led to fragmented governance that is slowing the region’s economic progress.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend says all of the above lead to the inevitable that amalgamation will be necessary if New Zealand as a whole wants to improve its economic and social performance.

“We are a tiny little country and this kind of fragmented governance with the sole focus on containing rates increases is just going to hold us back.”


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