One Waikato - Yeah Right! 
Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 11:51AM
Bill Barclay

This report appeared in the 'Waikato Times' on 9 September. 

"An eight-candidate bloc vying for a controlling stake of the Waikato Regional Council have batted off suggestions they want to replicate Auckland's super-city model in the Waikato.

The One Waikato ticket, which includes current regional council chairman Peter Buckley and his deputy Simon Friar, has pledged to save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars through shared services between councils.

The group borrows from research by the Waikato Mayoral Forum, which predicts savings in excess of $200 million across the region from streamlined planning and council co-operation.

But the group has already attracted its share of critics, especially on the Coromandel, who say the group's ultimate goal is council amalgamations".   

They batted off an accusation by Sandra Goudie that they were "intent on taking control of the region and scrapping district councils. 

"In response, Mr Friar said One Waikato did not support the idea of a unitary council in the Waikato.

"Our proposal is to save ratepayers money through much more co-operation and collaboration between the councils of the region, not by amalgamation," he said.

"Regarding local government reform, we're not too sure which model will be the best for the Waikato but whatever model it is, the options have to be discussed with the community.

"And in the meantime what we are saying is let's get on with some cost-savings initiatives."

Of course, that would be their reaction with an election in the offing, but it is just not credible in the light of statements made in the past, and the attempts by WRC to influence the Mayoral Forum - even to the extent of trying to get it to change its name. The Forum has absolutely no legal standing, but Buckley has attempted to use it for his own ends, which are clearly aimed at a One Waikato Unitary Authority - even the name of the ticket is a giveaway, and indicates that this group is hiding behind the smokescreen of "shared services".

These are already under way within TCDC, HDC and MPDC - such shared services do not need the approval of Wellington to put in place, and Simon's denial smacks of a desperate attempt to avoid a strong backlash - particularly in this District.

But those who are thinking of hopping on the well disguised Anti-1080 Graf bandwagon had better think about the effects of putting a inexperienced one-issue candidate in Simon's place. Dal Minogue is from here, and has the LG experience we need to handle our interests over the next critical three years. 

Peter Woods comments on my Regional Council post dated 20 August and repeated here, are spot on in my view:

For balance, I was on Council with Dal, and don't agree with anon. Dal attempted to get the policy and planning committee to discuss a wide range of topics but staff ran interference because staff set the agendas and present the reports. His frustration was obvious and staff canceled many meetings. The mayor was incompetent in listening and ameliorating the problem with positive chairmanship. At least Dal gave lots of effort to the job and didn't just pull his head down and sit there silently. As others often do. He is our local boy with L.G. knowledge and a sense of vocation. The Graf lad is pig-hunters choice with an anti-1080 stance. Is that enough for the wide-ranging topics at WRC?



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