Analysis of LGC Draft Proposal
Written by Ron Shaw
Summary and Conclusions
The Local Government Commission (LGC) Draft Proposal for Wairarapa District Council (the proposal) recommends amalgamation yet the officials advising the LGC can offer no compelling reasons for amalgamation.
The proposal concludes that there are 10 advantages from an amalgamated Wairarapa District Council. Some of these advantages were identified as benefits in the earlier Consultation Document. Review of the “advantages” shows that none are compelling, providing no real benefits with the issue of modest financial gains being so poorly addressed that it is more properly classified as a disadvantage.
The LGC identified 5 disadvantages. Of these, three are mere truisms and can be ignored. The two remaining disadvantages go to the heart of democratic representation and regional influence. They are true disadvantages with real costs and no offsetting benefits.
When the LGC Consultation Document was circulated in 2016, several additional disadvantages were ignored. Some have been addressed in this Proposal, particularly rates and debt, but there are still disadvantages that have not been addressed by the LGC. Further disadvantages, not identified as such by the LGC, are also apparent and these are set out in the last section below. Many are significant and militate against amalgamation.
Ratepayers and voters of the Wairarapa are being asked to approve an amalgamation where the advantages are hollow or are actually disadvantages, the disadvantages are only too real, particularly the certain reduction in democratic representation and regional influence, and there are additional disadvantages not addressed by the LGC.
The case for amalgamation is still NOT MADE.
Chart from Analysis document showing the relative representation by ward under the proposal. Representation per capita varies between wards. The Maungaraki ward requires fewest votes per councillor and Carterton ward the highest.