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PQ 12. Local Government Reforms—Commentary

12. Local Government Reforms—Commentary
[Sitting date: 24 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:9. Text is subject to correction.]
12. Su’a WILLIAM SIO (Labour—Māngere) to the Minister of Local Government : Did the Deputy Mayor of Napier, Mrs Fay White, raise with her recently at a public meeting that the issue of local government amalgamation should be taken seriously by National during this general election; if so, what were her specific concerns?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister of Local Government): Yes , she did raise the issue of amalgamations at a public meeting. I do not have notes about her concerns, but they were broadly about how Labour has politicised the amalgamation process in Hawke’s Bay.
Su’a William Sio : Did the Deputy Mayor, Mrs Fay White, say to her that the amalgamation issue could very well lose the election for National in the seat of Napier?
Hon PAULA BENNETT : She certainly did identify that she felt it was an issue in the Hawke’s Bay. I made the point to her that I felt that her anger with the process was actually stopping Hawke’s Bay from thinking about the bigger picture of what it is as a region and how it moves forward.
Su’a William Sio : Is it not true that Mrs Fay White was trying to warn her and her Government that pursuing a forced amalgamation agenda for local government would lead to National losing the Napier seat to Labour’s Mr Stuart Nash?
Mr SPEAKER : In as far as there is ministerial responsibility, the Hon Paula Bennett.
Hon PAULA BENNETT : I reject completely that there is any forced amalgamation for Hawke’s Bay. It is a process where it will certainly see itself voting for what it wants for the region. I also reject that there is any chance that Stuart Nash will take the seat.
Su’a William Sio : Supplementary question.
Mr SPEAKER : Before I call the member, he must just make sure that his questions are suitable to address to the responsibility of a Minister.
Su’a William Sio : Is it not true that in 2009 her Government amended the Local Government Act 2002, effectively clearing the way for the forced amalgamation of the local government sector?
Hon PAULA BENNETT : No.

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