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Amalgamation talks must include future of Community Boards
April 2013

Kapiti's Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Nigel Wilson says with all the talk of amalgamation and the various options, one glaring omission in the public discussions has been the future of our Community Boards.

"Under the single tier option proposed by Wellington City the Community Boards and local Councils would disappear. This option does not find favour with me for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the huge disconnect between the legislators and the communities they represent.

"Under the single tier scenario if you have an issue with your footpath in Otaki instead of contacting your Community Board or Council you would have to take your problem to Wellington.

"The two-tier system is the model I favour, as do most of my Regional Council colleagues. Under this system local connections are maintained and this is where the question mark over Community Boards comes in to play," says Mr Wilson.

Under the new legislation a two tier model would have a super-city (for want of a better term) and either local boards (current councils renamed) or community boards, but not both.

"So the decisions will need to be made as to which of these institutions we retain. Personally I favour keeping community boards. They are the closest to their communities and have long established local connections.

"During the past five years as regional councillor I have been a regular attendee at the community board meetings in Otaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu/Raumati and Paekakariki. It is at these venues that the public turn up and get a very fair hearing of issues that directly affect them."

Mr Wilson said he would like to see the community boards given more powers, not less.
"I would also like to see the Kapiti Council support the retaining of community boards but as this would happen at their own expense it would seem unlikely. Hopefully the public will have their say and I expect this will be a hot election issue later this year."

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