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Wellington Regional Strategy

Statement for the News Media

Wellington Regional Strategy

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy announced today that his Council has lodged a formal objection to the proposal for the Wellington Regional Council to take over economic development under the umbrella of the Wellington Regional Strategy. The reasons for the objection are detailed below:

- The proposal to undertake economic development activity will lead to increased costs to Upper Hutt ratepayers. The Council objects to the imposition of additional costs on Upper Hutt ratepayers. No additional costs should be imposed until those costs can be fully quantified and are identified as appropriate and providing value.

- The proposal will affect Upper Hutt ratepayers through the redistribution of regional economic development costs across the various cities and districts in the region. Any proposal must ensure that any redistribution promotes the wellbeing of the Upper Hutt community and accords with their views and preferences

- The proposal will reduce the ability of the Upper Hutt City Council to influence outcomes that are important for the Upper Hutt community. The reduced role of the Council should only proceed where this has been signalled as appropriate by the Upper Hutt community.

- All decision-making processes and requirements for the proposed regional standing committee or economic development agency must ensure that private sector involvement does not diminish the accountability of the elected regional and territorial authority representatives. Specifically, the Upper Hutt City Council objects to the adoption of any decision-making processes and requirements relating to funding and rating which would enable decisions to be made contrary to the views of a majority of the local authority participants.

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Mr Guppy said “Of particular concern to us is the increased cost to Upper Hutt ratepayers. Wellington Regional Council rates in Upper Hutt will increase by 8% to fund their new economic development function along with the 25% increase they already have planned over the next three years giving a total increase of 33%. This is on top of a 20% increase that Upper Hutt copped in the current year”

Mr Guppy added that ratepayers in other parts of the region should not be complacent about this either, with total proposed Wellington Regional Council rates increases over the next three years, including the new economic development costs, proposed to be:
Wellington – 32%
Lower Hutt – 32%
Porirua – 32%
Kapiti – 35%
Masterton – 43%
Carterton – 43%
South Wairarapa – 43%

“The other Councils will tell you that the new Wellington Regional Council economic development costs will be largely offset by reductions in their own budgets”, commented Mr Guppy. “All I can say is believe it when you see it”

ENDS

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