30 Sep 2015

Wgtn infrastructure merging may be on the cards

2:06 pm on 30 September 2015

Greater Wellington ratepayers could see some of their infrastructure services merged as mayors from around the region hold talks to improve what's on offer.

The view towards the Hutt Valley from the Wellington suburb of Roseneath.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Territorial authorities - from Wellington City to Masterton and Kapiti Coast - have been holding talks with the Local Government Commission to look at what is next now amalgamation is off the table.

A proposal to amalgamate the wider Wellington region was kicked to touch earlier this year and led to the-then chair of the Wellington Regional Council, Fran Wilde, stepping down.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said while many did not want a merger, they did want to improve how the different authorities worked together.

He said emergency management and the different water services had all been brought under one umbrella, and further work along this line could be done.

"One thing that we're talking about at the moment is the transport area, we're looking to operate roading and transport under one umbrella. It's about also looking to see where there are some efficincies to be gained."

Councils in the Wairarapa were strongly opposed to amalgamation and Mayor of Carterton, John Booth, is more upbeat about this round of talks.

"Before it was more like this is what we want you to do, whereas this way they're engaing with us and asking us what areas we feel we could do better. I feel that's a much more positive way - we're being asked, not being told."

Some of the proposals may require legislative change and the Local Government Commission said the Minister for the portfolio, Paula Bennett, has given a clear signal that she would be prepared to do that.

A further meeting is set down for next month.

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