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Public get final say on Local Government Reorganisation
July 2013
Local Government Commission chair Basil Morrison

Kapiti mayoral candidate Jackie Elliott says after attending this week's Zone 4 meeting she has faith the local government reorganization process will now become open and transparent.

"Hearing Basil Morrison, Chair of the Local Government Commission, speak on reorganisation for the Wellington Region. was very heartening and the processes he outlined were very reassuring." says Ms Elliott.

"Unfortunately up to now there has been a great deal of political spin around the issue of amalgamation and sadly much of it has come from our own KCDC.

"For starters we were reassured from Mr Morrison that all data put forward by councils in support of their positions on reorganization will be very closely scrutinized. I know many people in Kapiti believe the survey used by KCDC to support the status quo position was extremely dubious. Fortunately such documents will get the critical examination they deserve and I expect KCDC will be embarrassed by the outcome."

Ms Elliott says eighty-five percent of Kapiti respondents to the LG working party online survey in May indicated they wanted change to the current system. "Last August 91% of respondents in KCDC's postal survey on Local Government reform options indicated they wanted change. Yet in KCDC's dubious phone survey in May their results indicated 54% of respondents wanted status quo. And so our Council voted unanimously to support status quo.

The Local Government Commission's re assessment of such poll results is a positive step forward in transparency for Local Government and has been initiated due to concerns raised by members of the public across the region that local bodies were involved in 'shonky polls' . 'The Mice looking after the cheese.'

This transparency is an example of the leadership I am looking forward to showing as the next Mayor of Kapiti.

"Irrespective of our individual positions on the future of the region it is vital the process is open and honest and frankly up to now it clearly has not been in Kapiti," says Ms Elliott.

Ms Elliott says a key point was the view that there is every opportunity for Community Boards to remain in their current form. Community Boards have never been at risk from reorganisation. This is one of the myths spread by KCDC in order that the Kapiti ratepayers choose not to be involved in the re organisation process. "Community Boards are not at risk."

"The incumbent Mayor and KCDC Management have had one reason why they do not want change to the current system. Their motivation has nothing to do with loss of local identity or voice. They want to keep their jobs. The roles of the Mayor, CEO and senior tier of 6 or 7 management staff will likely be made redundant after reorganisation.

"Kapiti's ratepayers will save well over $1 million in annual salaries for these few KCDC positions alone."

Ms Elliott says the main job of the current CEO and senior management tier has been the writing of our share of the 312 annual, district, 3 year or 20 year plans produced every year for the Wellington Region.
"The duplication and its associated cost to ratepayers across the region are unacceptable. Reorganisation will streamline these processes. The Wellington Region Strategy Committee made up of the region's mayors, have failed to agree on any project whatsoever except a regionwide Civil Defence plan which is now successfully run from the regional council. "

"Auckland is the Supercity Wellington is a super region. It is another myth that we will be amalgamated into a Supercity. This word has only ever been used by the media in districts of the region where the current politicians are opposed to change. Kapiti, Lower Hutt, Wairarapa. It is unfortunate the term caught on, it is as inaccurate as the term amalgamation. What is proposed is a re organisation for the purpose of becoming more economically efficient and cohesive in our planning processes for the good of the region.

Full transcript of Basil Morrison's speech is available from www.lgc.govt.nz

 
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