News from Upper Hutt City Council
Upper Hutt City Council calls for greater collaboration and shared services in its alternative application to the Local Government Commission: An integrated governance framework for the Wellington Region. This application is currently before Council, and due to be adopted at Wednesday night’s Council meeting in preparation for submission to the Local Government Commission on Thursday.
The Council’s alternative application reflects the strong voice articulated over two years of consultation on regional governance, where residents of Upper Hutt clearly stated they had no appetite for amalgamation between the Upper Hutt City Council and any other in the region. Instead, it calls for better efficiencies and effectiveness in local governance without the need for a boundary change. The proposal outlines a framework for greater shared services, and the establishment of an overarching regional committee, which would replace four others and focus on integrated strategic planning and regional decision making. In addition, it proposes changes to the way we manage significant scalable infrastructure services, such as water and roading, that would benefit from a regional approach. Ultimately, the application suggests that significant savings can be made if the councils across the Greater Wellington Region could be more collaborative, lending expertise and services to the region where practicable, while retaining a local focus.
“This alternative application to the Local Government Commission is truly representative of what our residents want. It offers stability, equity, local responsiveness, and regional leadership,” says Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy. “Upper Hutt residents have expressed an opinion of how they see the region moving forward and accept that there are areas that we need to do better regionally. They agree that we need to develop a regional approach to delivering some services, for the benefit of our communities and our region.”
Following a review of international evidence, the application notes that amalgamations have not yet been proven to work. It highlights that, for Upper Hutt residents particularly, rates and debt will undoubtedly increase and local prioritisation will likely decrease. The proposal also questions the timeliness of the regional governance reform process, given that the jury is still out on the success of the Auckland ‘supercity’ and it’s purported cost savings.
Upper Hutt City Council’s alternative application to the Local Government Commission: An integrated governance framework for the Wellington Region is available on the Council’s website as part of the 14 August Council Meeting agenda papers. Go to www.upperhuttcity.com/councilagenda