Thursday, December 04, 2014

Wellington's people should vote on its supercity

So, the Local Government Commission has recommended that the Greater Wellington region get the supercity treatment, with One Mayor To Rule Them All from Rongotai to the Wairarapa. Colour me unsurprised. National's local government "reforms" were designed to enable such forced mergers, by removing the old provision that they had to be approved by voters. And that, right there, is my reason for opposing this. Amalgamation in the Wellington region may be a good idea - but that's a question for the people who will have to live under it, not for a clique of unaccountable bureaucrats and a gaggle of local body politicians thirsting to be SuperMayor (with a supersalary to match). And its a question for each existing local authority city or district whether they want in or out. National's strapped chicken rules don't provide for that (instead, voters in one area can force amalgamation on their neighbours), and until that changes, the only democratic position is to oppose all forced amalgamations.

The good news is that it will be easy to get a vote:

A small section of Tararua District that is currently within the regional council boundary which transfer to the Manawatu-Wanganui region.

There are 11 properties in that area, so all it will take to force a referendum is a handful of people. But then there's the prospect of the people of the Hutt and Wairarapa being outvoted by the people of Wellington and Porirua. But if the latter want to amalgamate, they should, and leave others out of it.