Sitting around a bigger table – amalgamation, or not

I was recently asked what  my position was on amalgamation?

The short answer is that the community has already spoken (74.31% opposed amalgamation), so a new Council now needs to get in behind that decision and make it work.

But at the time that amalgamation was being considered, I was skeptical of the benefits being advanced. Especially in light of overseas experience and empirical research (see

At the same time, Wellington was also considering amalgamation and interestingly one of the official options being advanced was a separation of urban and rural communities (ie excluding the Wairarapa) – a very similar divide between Nelson and Tasman (see

There are also questions of the democratic process being degraded – a criticism of the Auckland experience.

Finally, there is a trend post amalgamation to focus future investment on the main centre of the region, which would have been Nelson, not Richmond.

So, the short answer is I did not support amalgamation at the time.



One comment

  1. Dean

    I notice in the picture accompanying the article celebrating how well the two councils work together that the Tasman side of the table was almost empty. I assume our counselors had more pressing issues to attend – perhaps designing the next council building.

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