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Friday
Feb032012

Unitary Council Campaign 

You may have noticed the statement printed on p. 3 of today's HH. regarding the above.

The entire statement put out by Reihana Robinson as spokes-person for the Northern Coromandel Landcare Association appears below. Readers will be aware of Reihana's passionate defence of the environment and her involvement in the anti-1080 campaign on which she and I have locked horns in the past. Nevertheless, I have the highest regard for Reihana's intelligence and commitment - she is no shrinking violet - make that mistake at your peril.

Reihana's reaction to the SNA's letters was played out before the entire Council in December, and it gave one and all pause for thought as to just what they were getting into. Just a pity that certain people immediately began covering their backsides, and tried to avoid responsibility for what had happened.

But that is all water under the bridge, and this latest proposal may well have legs. Take good time to absorb its contents, and consider just how it could change the future of the whole Peninsula and its environs were it to be adopted.

It may need some well placed suggestions in the appropriate quarter to get political momentum behind it. I wouldn't count on the current incumbent, but this issue is bigger than him, and if he is unwilling to throw his weight behind it he may need to be by-passed. I am waiting to hear what his mentor - Morrie Dunwoodie has to say - that could be interesting in view of his role on the District Plan Review Committee. Reihana claims to have had supporting comments from all members of Council and the Committee that she has contacted - excepting Morrie.

UCLA Starts Drive for Unitary Council

February 2,  2012

A Coromandel conservation group has launched a campaign for single-tier local government for the Coromandel Peninsula and Hauraki Plains.

The Upper Coromandel Landcare Association (UCLA) is seeking creation of a unitary council for the combined districts that would replace the current two-tier structure of district councils answering to Waikato Regional Council (WRC) in Hamilton.

According to UCLA spokesperson Reihana Robinson, “The time for a unitary Coromandel-Hauraki council has arrived.  Regional council has proven increasingly ineffective, expensive, and unresponsive to the needs and aspirations of our communities. There is wide support for single-tier local government among the general public and elected officials.  All we need is strong and visionary leadership to bring about the change.”

The UCLA campaign for a unitary council coincides with development of new rules by WRC, currently at the hearings stage, that will dictate what local councils must include in their district plans.  “The revised WRC regional policy statement usurps local decision-making and reduces local council autonomy,” Robinson said.  “That’s bad for our landscapes and ecosystems, as well as our cultures, economy, and traditional rural way of life. The unitary council structure would restore local democracy and accountability.”

According to Robinson, two-tier local government is also inefficient and unaffordable.  “Thames-Coromandel District ratepayers will pay $9,882,152 this year to regional council.  That represents a full 12 percent of the entire Waikato rates burden from a small percentage of the region’s population. Hauraki District ratepayers will pay $6,513,057 this year to WRC, comprising 8 percent of Waikato rates.  This is a huge drain on our communities and diversion of scarce financial resources.”

UCLA says the Coromandel and Hauraki are geographically distinct from the rest of the Waikato.  “Our issues are unique and complex.  The unitary council structure would provide the local understanding, on-site management, and full resource commitment that has not been, and cannot be, forthcoming from distant Hamilton.”

“With the $16m in rates that are currently siphoned off to Hamilton each year, a unitary council based in Thames and Paeroa could comfortably meet all requirements of the Local Government Act for our districts,” Robinson said.  “Public transportation, biodiversity, spatial planning, economic development, and other key issues would get the full funding they require, from our districts and for our districts.  As for outcomes, the public would benefit from policymakers who live with their decisions.”

UCLA is urging both Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki councils to engage with the public regarding reformulation as a unitary council and to take all necessary steps to advance the change prior to local body elections in 2013.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

surely these people cannot be serious- TCDC has more coastline than most Councils in NZ- there is no way we as a Unitary Council could afford aquaculture, or Civil Defence, flood control or Heaven forbid- pest control.
whilst it may appear alot of money we pay out in rates -yet for every $1 we pay, we get $2 back - more than any other Council in this Regional Council's area.Do we really want to be out checking moorings, watching over harbours, checking water quality, air emissions, earthworks, pest control,noxious weeds, forestry, aquaculture-now and into the future,and numerous other roles Regional Councils oversee-
TCDC can barely look after building compliance, swimming pools, health safe guards, dogs,roading, stormwater, rubbish disposal and waste water -become a Unitary authority - then you would see costs/rates spiral out of control-more staff, buildings, vehicles-----------

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercyclops

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