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Carterton candidate calls time on amalgamation


Carterton mayoral and council candidate. PHOTO/FILE

Carterton’s mayor challenger Mike Osborne is standing on a platform of anti-amalgamation.

Mr Osborne said last week he is “strongly opposed to the potential amalgamation of the three Wairarapa councils” and he is standing on that platform as he believes the case has not been made for amalgamation.

“When the LGC press release about the feedback and phone survey was recently reported in the local press, Mayor John Booth was reported as being in favour of amalgamation option D.” Mr Osborne said.

“Given that in that same report 33% of Carterton respondents were in favour of the status quo I felt that people with that view needed a voting option. Thirty-three percent is a remarkably high percentage given that the case against amalgamation has had so little publicity.”

Mr Osborne said he has been disappointed with a lack of discussion and people of Wairarapa “sleepwalking towards amalgamation accepting it as some sort of panacea without any critical examination”.

Mr Osborne said he had asked the LGC panel in the Carterton public meeting two questions.

“What is the specific problem that amalgamation is going to fix and what tangible benefits will we see from amalgamation?”

“The question of “problem” was dodged with a “we see opportunities” but none were clearly enunciated. To the tangible benefits question, the answer was “we are unable to state that”. In other words, “we can’t tell you what tangible benefits you’ll get from addressing a problem we won’t identify”.

Mr Osborne says Carterton would trade its current 915 citizens per councillor to 3162, and for that, “there had better be some pretty big and clear benefits”.

He says Carterton has “well-managed council that has been prudent in debt management, provides great service and our councillors are accessible and responsive to questions and requests.”

“What benefit do we get from the acquisition of Masterton’s debt? What benefit will we get from sharing in the upkeep of the increasingly untenable Cape Palliser Road?”

Mr Osborne has been living in Carterton since 2009 having moved from Wellington. He runs a web consultancy business and has a long background in IT and management consulting.

Mr Osborne has set up a website www.ifitaintbroke.nz which is being populated with material he says supports the case against amalgamation.


  1. Re Sculpture at the Opaki round about.

    As a traffic distraction I am sure this edifice will cause traffic problems. From Lansdowne to the round-about it is necessary to make ten to twelve or more vital decisions re-pedestrians and vehicles with two pedestrian crossings, three intersections; two exits-entrances to the service station; plus divergent lanes and a semi-fenced crossing where energetic children like to save time and veer around the fences.
    Imagine you are a first time traveler to Masterton. When you need to make proper driving decisions you will see the flying sculpture. And you will be “Distracted” and you will look above the road and the traffic at the wrong time. Sparkling reflection from sunlight will only add to the distraction. For sure. I am sure this positioning doesn’t follow the code of practice for what we would allow for road signs. And this is a Main Highway!! Additionally this is the ambulance route. Perhaps that is a blessing? And the NZTA wants to protect the poles with bollards? Tourists will also be disadvantaged as they have to compete with traffic to get a proper view when walking.

    I would love to see the sculpture placed in one of our parks to increase there usage. Wellington places their abstracts in strategic places. And you can take all the time you wish to enjoy them. And you can put up more in the same area.
    Please let us rethink this project to enhance the whole town for the future.

  2. Only thirty three percent is just that. It can’t win anything because it is not a winning figure. The Poms would not have Brexit on that vote. Whether the Mayor is in favour or not is not the point. We need to be vigilant otherwise democracy creep away from us. As it is we have councils making too many decisions behind closed doors on the grounds of commercially sensitive. The Air New Zealand service to the Wairarapa is a case in point. Under regional development we demand a subsidy on the railway service and are fully acceptable of the result. For our future development a local airline is a necessity. The councils paid I believe $70,000 for upgrades. What use are they now? Now we have to maintain what is not being used. The money spent on this round of speculative local government re-organization could have kept an airline service running for years. Please also note that Air New Zealand management have discounted the benefits of extending the Wellington Airport runway. They will actually lose money as the extended costs will be passed on to them as users. And yet Mayor Patterson favours this and the amalgamation of the local councils. Personally I think separate mayors brings strong development to each area. The great Carterton and South Wairarapa projects just would not have got off the ground if Masterton voters were asked to pay for them. If the benefits can’t be evaluated then there aren’t any. Simple as that. Whatever you want to do in life. In fact Masterton cannot afford to speculate as we have too many projects already needing massive dollar input.

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