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Bin merger for brand new picnic

By Geoff Vause
[email protected]

Council staff across the region are the meat in the sandwich in local government merger proposals.

They don’t know if they are staying or going.

And under the current process Wairarapa can barely influence the final shape of their region until an actual transition is under way.

Right now, councillors and pretenders need to think about $2 million on a town hall here or lots of brass on a dog pound there being wasted in a merger. They owe that to ratepayers.

Merger proposals were triggered because Wairarapa councils and the regional council asked for it.

The Local Government Commission (LGC) thought the regional council (GWRC) had the best idea.

It didn’t fly with the public and was dropped.

The LGC decided it would cook up its own because it could, thanks to Wairarapa councils triggering the process in the first place. Nobody can call ‘whoa, halt, cease, desist’.

Wairarapa can’t own the shape of the region until the final option lands on the table as a proposal from the LGC.

Then there’s a poll. It can be automatic, or triggered by 10 per cent of any one of the three districts petitioning for it, depending on complex bits not worth detailing.

The point is, there must be a poll.

The past few years of hot air can then be tossed out for the status quo.

Certainty is needed. Stability is essential. Council staff can get on with it.

The three councils can share heaps more services, save lots of cash, do things a lot better.

This will lay the groundwork for their own unitary merger, designed by Wairarapa for Wairarapa.

They don’t need the regional council, but they could keep bits if they like.

Keeping staff skills deep in the region is essential. Councils train and employ for a surprisingly wide range of vocations. Peeling bits off regional council would increase this.

They’ll be lots of useful, brainy people to help out as school trustees and the like.

Strengthening democracy is essential. Local boards can do this. They can even have essential staff. Why not? Engineers and stuff.

Wairarapa can shape itself around people potential, around jobs and opportunity.

Dump whatever the LGC cooks up, and serve a smorgasbord picnic.

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