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Council keen to promote local government reform debate

Council keen to promote local government reform debate

30 March 2012

Hamilton City Council is looking to generate debate about proposals for local government reform, promoting an expanded metropolitan boundary for the city and support for a large rural Waikato council.

In response to the local government reforms recently announced by the Government, the city’s Mayor and Councillors held informal discussions at a workshop yesterday (29 March) where they agreed to initiate debate about how local government reform could look for the city and region.

The Council is keen to start an open and robust discussion of high-level views on possible ways forward for the city and region. These need to both address the Government’s intentions, as well as deliver greater efficiencies across councils in the Waikato.

Initial areas of discussion the Council is promoting include:

·An expanded metropolitan boundary for Hamilton city which recognises wider communities of interest and long term growth needs.

·A unitary authority model for the expanded Hamilton city area which covers both local and regional functions, reducing duplication in areas such as planning and transportation.

·Larger rural councils able to better promote Waikato’s interests as well as interface with the Auckland supercity.

The Mayor and Councillors have asked Council staff to begin gathering information to better understand the merits of these ideas as part of generating wide-ranging discussion across the city and region.

Mayor Julie Hardaker says: “The Government has sent a clear message to local government about these issues and it’s now time for people in Hamilton and across the region to start talking and discussing openly and intelligently about what local government structure could work best.

“Hamilton and the Waikato are important to New Zealand, and Hamilton City Council is keen to get the debate on this very important issue underway. There is a real opportunity for us to work together on this for the benefit of the whole region.”

ENDS

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