Hutt City spends $400,000 in two years opposing super-city plans

Press Release – Hutt City Council
A statement of the costs of the work incurred by Hutt City Council relating to the proposal of regional amalgamation by the Greater Wellington Regional Council has been released by Chief Executive Tony Stallinger.

This release is in anticipation of the current Local Government Commission findings around regional amalgamation.

Stallinger stated that in 2013 Hutt City Council sought the opinion of its residents on regional amalgamation, and an unprecedented 6000 submissions were received. Results showed over 80% of Hutt Valley residents were not in favour of regional amalgamation. The Council was then obliged to submit against the proposal initiated by the Regional Council.

Council has invested over $400,000 across the last two years to protect the democratic preference of a substantial majority of residents in Lower Hutt, as regional amalgamation is in direct conflict of the wishes of the community.

He said the Council has tracked its costs on the matter, and was today releasing the details publicly to demonstrate the effort involved.

“This work was necessary to carry out the wishes of Council and the public.

“I would prefer our staff, skills and ratepayers’ money had been concentrated on operational matters, but without it the plans around regional amalgamation would have proceeded unchallenged,”

“These costs are relatively minor in comparison with the $100 to $200 million likely cost of the proposed amalgamation.” Mr Stallinger said.

HCC Costs in relation to possible local government amalgamation across the Wellington region

Total costs in the current financial year $197,000
Total costs in the 2012/13 financial year $214,000
Total costs in the 2011/12 financial year <$40,000

Analysis of costs
An analysis of the costs of the current and 2012/13 financial years is as follows:
External consultants – research* $147,000
External consultants – other* $177,000
Surveys, polling $18,000
Advertising $61,000
Meetings $8,000

* The majority of these costs were in relation to the research and preparation of Hutt City Council’s submission to the Local Government Commission.

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