Wairarapa wants no part of greater Wellington – think tank

A Wairarapa-based think tank has scotched any suggestion the region's councils should become part of greater Wellington, saying a regional approach is best for business.

A Wairarapa business group and think tank has rejected the need for the region to join with Wellington, saying business will be better off with one regional district.

Consultants working on the Wairarapa Governance Review decided the region would be best served by one authority – a Wairarapa district council, born out of amalgamating South Wairarapa, Masterton and Carterton district councils.

Self-funded Wairarapa Development Group agrees. Chairman Shane McManaway is reluctant to see the region swallowed up in the greater Wellington area.

The capital city is in the throes of its own local government review, which includes an option to create a supercity type council, encompassing its northern neighbour.

“We don’t believe a unitary authority is good for the region. We don’t believe we have enough critical mass as an entity to get the value of the big powerhouse that the Wellington regional council can give us,” Mr McManaway told NBR ONLINE.

He doubts business would succeed and expand under a unitary authority because the region’s voice might get lost. But he accepts more has to be done to attract business to the Wairarapa region.

“For businesses wanting to expand, which need approvals for expansion within the region, we would have one clear vision for the region," Mr McManaway says.

"We would hope it would attract better people into those management roles within the regional council who would understand the need to promote business and reduce some of the bureaucracy that puts people off trying to advance."

He acknowledges the three authorities are doing a good job but wants the region to be more business-friendly and believes it should be easier, as a bigger local authority, to attract people wanting to run bigger business.

He wants more business in the region to generate more job opportunities.

And he believes a more local approach is the best way to do it, rather than being part of greater Wellington.

“I’m not saying it wouldn’t possibly work but I think a region run by people from the region who’ve got the region’s interests at heart has got more show of achieving a better result around attracting people into the district, be it for business or lifestyle or tourism.”

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