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Auckland supercity makes it inevitable for Wgtn

Embargoed until 7.30pm, Tuesday, 23 June

Media Statement
Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture


Dunne: Auckland supercity makes it inevitable for Wellington

UnitedFuture leader and Ohariu MP, Peter Dunne, says the establishment of an Auckland supercity makes it inevitable and necessary that Wellington would go down a similar path.

Addressing the Wellington Federation of Progressive Associations annual meeting this evening, Mr Dunne said years of regional infighting and a lack of cohesion meant Auckland had consistently failed to pull its weight.

“Auckland is the major economic and population powerhouse of New Zealand – when it does well, New Zealand does well.

“For too long, Auckland’s bumbling performance has not only held that region back, but also the country as a whole, with infrastructure and transport blockages detracting from Auckland’s ability to serve as an effective major international gateway.

“The whole of New Zealand has an interest in Auckland working well,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that the Auckland supercity was likely to change all that, which would have significant implications for Wellington and Christchurch.

“An organised, powerful and cohesive Auckland, with its population dominance, will present a major economic and political challenge to Wellington, and to a lesser extent to Christchurch.

“While it would be wrong to see this issue as simply a competition for dominance between regions, it is relevant to look at it from the perspective of the best utilisation of regional resources in the national interest.

The Wellington region, as presently constituted, is failing that challenge.

“A region with five territorial local authorities, excluding the Wairarapa, and one regional authority is simply too cumbersome and disjointed to provide an effective counter to Auckland’s emerging dominance.

“Add in to that the rise in parochialism within the region that sees it becoming increasingly difficult to obtain a clear regional consensus on major infrastructural issues (such as Transmission Gully), and it is simply not credible for Wellington to continue as it is,” he said.

Mr Dunne proposed a Wellington supercity extending as far north as Waikanae, but excluding Wairarapa, with one elected council and mayor, supported by a network of community boards, to replace the Wellington, Hutt, Upper Hutt, Porirua, and Kapiti councils, and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

“We cannot afford to delay unduly on this, and ought to be starting now to develop a comprehensive regional plan, ideally capable of being implemented for next year’s local body elections,” he said.

ENDS

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