The National Government has no plans to merge local authorities in the Hutt Valley, local list MP Paul Quinn (National) says.
He was responding to Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkins (Labour)(see previous post), who had said the way the legislation had been rushed through parliament for Aucklands “Super City” set a dangerous precedent for local government reform in other parts of the country “including here in the Hutt Valley”
Mr Quinn goes on to say “I stated at a public meeting (last) October that there was plenty of scope for the Greater Wellington Regional Council to sharpen up its act. I also made it clear that a merger was something for the communities of Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt to decide”
All credit to Mr Quinn, and also his stated stance at Project Awakairangi (Hutt Valley Police Merger) meetings that he attended and was upset that the police had adopted the project without consultation.
No doubt this issue wont go away given the profile of Aucklands Super City.
It is important to note that in late April, Local Goverment Minister Rodney Hide met the Hutt Valleys 2 mayors.
Mr Hipkins asked Mr Hide in Parliament whether he had received any advice on the possibility of a merger in the Hutt Valley and was told Mr Hide had been given a memo and background notes prior to his meeting the 2 mayors. Mr Hide said the memo advised him the 2 mayors did not support amalgamation of all the councils in the Wellington region, “believing this process should be left to ratepayers to initiate” and that “Mr Ogden (Lower Hutt Mayor) had raised the idea of a smaller amalgamation between Hutt and Upper Hutt City Councils”
Mr Hipkin has since lodged an Official Information Request for a copy of the full memo and background notes.
HuttNZ is very interested in the context of this memo as well, the quote is worth a second look
“Mr Ogden (Lower Hutt Mayor) had raised the idea of a smaller amalgamation between Hutt and Upper Hutt City Councils”
We await release on this memo to find some conclusions, and give a clearer insight intothe mandate Mr Ogden appears to have adopted.
We believe that it is not up to council to decide but the public of the Hutt Valley. No doubt previous councils eg Eastbourne, Petone have opinions on mergers and the impact it has on community issues.
Whatever occurs, it is HuttNZ opinion that the public has a right to full disclosure on this issue, sooner rather than later.