Coughlan says amalgamation horse has bolted
MEDIA RELEASE I 26 July 2016
I was asked today by the Dominion Post about my position on an amalgamation between Porirua and Wellington.
I said the following:
“The horse has bolted on amalgamation. Merging with Porirua is not a priority or part of my road map for Wellington. Value for ratepayer’s money is a priority and that is why we should continue to progress shared services where it makes sense - such as around economic development, water and potentially transport.”
"I was open to a wider amalgamation concept but that issue has been well and truly debated throughout the city in recent times and would now just act as a distraction to real progress on the key issues facing the city.
“Amalgamation with Porirua, is particularly problematic. It will deliver few benefits that would not be delivered by a shared services model.
“And there are potential downsides to any merger. Anecdotally one hears suggestions that the Porirua infrastructure is not up to the standard we have built in Wellington. I feel we have to put Wellington interests first. I don’t want Wellington to be regarded as a cash cow that is able to correct this problem. I don’t want to see Wellington rate payers having to subsidise Porirua. That would mean even higher rates increases than those that are being proposed in the long term plan.
“My road map prioritises the actions we need to take and the leadership necessary to make Wellington an even greater city. My priority is on Wellington infrastructure - double tunnelling Mt Victoria and Terrace Tunnels; four-laning Ruahine Street; creating an iconic inner harbour cycleway; and building a 12,000 seat concert venue.
“Amalgamation is an unnecessary distraction over the next three years,” Mayoral candidate Jo Coughlan concluded.