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Community Board votes to reject council amalgamation

August 10th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community board has shown its hand on the amalgamation issue, voting yesterday in a split decision to submit to the Local Government Commission its opposition to the draft scheme.

A Notice of Motion was tabled at the public board meeting and voted in four votes to two. Voting for the motion (and therefore against the amalgamation scheme) were Paul Hawkes (who moved the motion), Cliff Satherley (seconder), Barry Dowler and Mark Chapman. Eileen Wilkins was absent from the meeting (with apology) but had signed the notice, making it in effect 5 - 2. Voting against the rejection were David Ogilvie and Jack Inglis.

Paul said he decided to state his position after talking with as many ratepayers as he could to find out what the majority wanted. "I was elected as a representative of ratepayers," he said. "I found the majority are against so I decided to take this action."

Cliff said he felt Motueka's representation at council level would weaken under a larger unitary council. "I decided the board should show strong leadership and draw a line in the sand."

Jack said he was for amalgamation because the whole region would be stronger with the greater numbers of population involved. Barry simply stated he was totally against amalgamation.

The Notice of Motion which was passed said:

"That the Motueka Community Board adopts the following draft submission to the Local Government Commission in regard to the Draft Scheme for the union of Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council.

"We, the Motueka Community Board do not support the Local Government Commission Draft Scheme for a union of Nelson and Tasman councils, as we believe that the proposed Draft Scheme:
  • fails to deliver any financial savings
  • could increase rates in the Motueka Ward, especially those rates applying to commercial properties
  • reduces local representation and accountability at the Council table, by reducing the number of locally elected councillors.

"We asked the Commission note that the Tasman District Council has already offered the Motueka Community Board all the delegated powers suggested in the Draft Scheme, and that there is no need for a merger for this degree of local autonomy to come into being.

"We support further delegations of authorities to the board, provided they can be shown to be managed in a more efficient manner and at a lesser cost than is currently being managed by the Tasman District Council.

"We do not support the mandatory formation of Community Boards for outer wards in the Tasman District Council area that already have Community Councils or Associations that are proven to represent their communities in a cost-effective manner in liaison with local council representatives.

"We do not support the loss of rural Motueka or Takaka Ward representative council persons. It is at the council table that our rural votes count, and under the Local Government Commission Draft Scheme this will see the rural communities disadvantaged.

"We would like to take this opportunity to state that we are clearly disappointed the Commission's recommendations were based on inaccurate reports and information supplied within the Strateg.Ease report.

"We are further disappointed that out of 451 submissions, 57% clearly stated their opposition to the amalgamation in its entirety."


Comment by Ray & Mary Dowell:
[Posted 20 August 2011]

We have got to say a big thank you to our community board for voting against this amalgamation issue, we agree if it does go ahead we will end up paying higher rates which are too high already plus we would end up with all of Nelson's debt which we do not need and less representation in the Tasman district.

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