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.