A group of Wairarapa electors encouraging people to sign the petition. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

CHELSEA BOYLE

chelsea.boyle@age.co.nz

Several Wairarapa Voice members visited the Local Government Commission earlier this week to showcase the huge effort that had banked more than enough signatures to trigger a poll on the proposed amalgamation of the three Wairarapa district councils.

By September 12, the Masterton District alone had collected about 2500 signatures – of which 1832 signatures were validated – to confirm that a poll will take place from November 20 to December 12 by postal ballot.

The presentation on Monday was an opportunity to note the signatures that had also stacked up in South Wairarapa and Carterton Districts.

About 4500 people signed the petition across Wairarapa.

Featherston resident Perry Cameron said he wanted to acknowledge the people who made room for a petition clipboards and signs in 22 locations across the valley.

“Over 2000 people voluntarily signed the petition which shows the interest in this process.”

The handover went very well, he said.

“The officials appreciated the copies we left for them.”

The group used the opportunity to register concern that the final proposal had not given enough consideration to the 1191 submissions received during the consultation process in May – of which 824 were opposed.

Mr Cameron said there were ongoing concerns the costings and values in the proposal “were seriously misunderstanding the situation”.

The understanding of the transition period also needed to be clarified, because Masterton seemed to be changing its position, he said.

“The primary concern I have, which is not necessarily shared by everybody… to me it is an undemocratic form of poll.

“It would be quite a ridiculous sort of poll to have, for example, if we were contending to be a state of Australia, and they put it to a poll and the Australians voted in it, we would be gone.

“It’s an undemocratic process in that sense.

“The decision should be based on the individual results of each of the districts, not the accumulated total.”

But nonetheless, the group was glad there would be a poll.

“Masterton did a sterling effort with a street campaign to collect enough signatures to ensure that the poll is happening.”

Wairarapa Voice spokesman Mike Osborne said they urged people to vote for the option they believe would enhance local democracy and deliver the highest level of local government services in the most cost-effective way to our communities.