More balanced amalgamation information wanted by Hutt group

Press Release – Better Hutt Valley
The Hutt City Council has racked up over $400,000 in costs as part of its campaign to oppose regional amalgamation, yet has failed to give residents the information they need to make an informed choice on the issue.

“If the council had spent this money putting forward a balanced view, then some of these costs would be justified,” says group member Dick Werry.

“But the information coming out of the Hutt City Council has been anything but balanced. So far we’ve been paying for Ray Wallace to put fullpage ads of himself in the newspapers. Instead why not an advertisement that explains the differences between local boards and community boards so that people can get their heads around this stuff?”

“These costs are over the top,” says group member John Welch. “Of course the council has a role in consulting residents on the amalgamation issue. But spending this amount of money on expensive consultants and meetings at a luxury golf resort can’t be justified. The figure does not include council staff time, so in reality the figure is closer to half a million dollars.”

The costs incurred by the Hutt City Council have come to light because of a request by Better Hutt Valley under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

“The council should have been upfront about their use of ratepayers’ money. The fact that the council has only disclosed these costs because they’ve had to under official information legislation is not the best look,” says group member Lou Gardiner.

Better Hutt Valley
www.betterhuttvalley.org.nz

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