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May 23, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Kate Follows Celia – Sometimes Too Closely

This is the response I received from Celia about her thoughts on Wellington as a supercity. I thought it would be interesting to show the points that Celia brought up, compared to what I considered to be important. I also thought it would be interesting to put up an entire answer from Celia, rather than little sound-bites, or their written word equivalent. I’ve been thinking recently about the role that media play in politics (amongst other things). The Dom Post initially portrayed Celia in a very negative light, and I think this has hugely impacted what Wellington citizens think of her. While The Dom have recently put out some more realistic articles, I think people are still stuck on the initial idea that was given to them.

Hey Celia. I’m just writing this article talking about city council amalgamation, to hopefully make a few more people aware that it’s something that’s being discussed. I see that you’re clearly against the idea and I was wondering why you think amalgamation of councils in the Wellington region is not the best idea?

From what I’ve seen and heard so far, amalgamating all functions between Masterton and Miramar would mean far less connection between elected representatives and citizens, less local focus (decisions on Lambton Quay by someone who is based 30 or 40 k away?).

Already I have a larger constituency than electorate MPs but people expect (rightly) to be able to catch up with their Mayor. Rongotai, Wellington Central, parts of Ohariu-Belmont and Te Tai Tonga are all in Wellington City. Plus I need to meet with the different diplomatic posts so we are connected, for culture AND economy, to the wider world.

Working with high-tech businesses, cultural and neighbourhood groups, catalysing economic, social and environmental initiatives and liaising with local politicians, both local and central, takes considerable time—however enjoyable!

There is some level at which an entity is not large enough to be effective but Wellington City is not too small. Yesterday I met with Valerie, the Mayor of Rouen. They have a population of 500,000, whereas we have 200,000, but have 55 elected members which sounds unmanageable!

There may be some activities that can be better delivered by one council than another and we are looking collaboratively at sharing services such as online services, waste management and procurement.

I am sceptical that bus routes, bus lanes, bus shelters and bus fares are best managed within our city separately by two authorities plus NZTA.

Also it’s a much more collaborative approach between Mayors now—both in the local region and across NZ. I’m sure there is some duplication and opportunity for savings too.

At the regional mayors meeting in June we will look at how the Wellington region can best determine its own future.


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  1. Ival says:

    Holy concise data btmaan. Lol!

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