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Survey shows strong support for single Wairarapa council

/ / /
Media information 9 August 2012
Survey shows strong support
for single Wairarapa council

Initial results of an opinion survey on local government reform across the wider Wellington region show Wairarapa residents are about evenly split on whether there should be change to existing councils. Amongst those who wanted change there was strong support for a single Wairarapa council and little desire to be part of a Wellington super council.

Wairarapa residents showed the most desire for change when compared with Wellington.
Commissioned by eight local councils in the Wellington region, including Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa, the survey by Colmar Brunton interviewed 3,300 people, 400 in each council area.

It showed 45 per cent of Wairarapa people surveyed wanted either no change or more shared services between councils, 41 per cent were in favour of a single Wairarapa council, five per cent wanted one council for the greater Wellington region and seven per cent didn’t know.

Of those that wanted change, 75 per cent were in favour of a single Wairarapa council, 14 per cent wanted councils to share more services and nine per cent were in favour of a single Wellington council or ‘super city’ that included Wairarapa.

Further analysis of the results showed that once options for change were explained and respondents were asked for their view if change was inevitable, Wairarapa people were open to change and most preferred a single Wairarapa council even if they first answered ‘no change’. Those who initially answered don’t know were also in favour of a single Wairarapa council.

The full survey results will be available next week.

In a joint statement South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples, Carterton mayor Ron Mark and Masterton mayor Garry Daniell said while the survey showed that a large number of people wanted change the results did not favour change as strongly as feedback received by their councils over the past year.

“When Wairarapa people are informed, the vast majority are telling us they want change and they want a single Wairarapa council. The survey results are consistent with this.

“The survey is one part of a large amount of information that we are drawing together in order to identify a preferred option that best supports the delivery of local government services for Wairarapa,” the mayors said.

A working party representing the three councils has been consulting interest groups, iwi, local Wellington councils, the regional council, the NZ Transport Agency, and the Local Government Commission. It met earlier this week with the Wellington Review Panel appointed by the regional council and Porirua City to help the panel understand issues for the Wairarapa.

A high-level independent review of Wairarapa governance options released in May concluded that the most effective and efficient arrangement was likely to be a single Wairarapa district council or a Wairarapa council responsible for both district and regional council functions.

“We are now gathering more detailed information to help councils and Wairarapa people make informed decisions on how we are governed in future,” the mayors said.

Work on the financial implications of becoming a single council is underway through talks with the regional council and an independent analysis that builds on the earlier high-level governance study. Other current work is investigating governance, representation and service implications for a single Wairarapa council.

Members of the public can find more information at the working party’s website, www.wairarapasfuture.govt.nz and at council offices and libraries throughout Wairarapa. They can have their say through the website or by writing to their district council.

© Scoop Media

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