|Friday 19 February 1999|
Proposed Amalgamation Of Christchurch City Council And Banks Peninsula District Council
The Local Government Commission, which is a statutory body appointed by the Minister of Local Government, has today triggered the next stage of a proposed amalgamation between Christchurch City and Banks Peninsula District Councils. The proposal began with a petition from Banks Peninsula residents which was lodged with Local Government Commission in June 1997.
Since that time the City Council has worked closely with Banks Peninsula District Council in analysing some of the implications of the proposal but has not formed a view either in favour or against.
"We have deliberately adopted a neutral stance as it is not part of the City Councils thinking that it should absorb surrounding district councils. We have reached the stage now, however, where the City Council must sit down and consider the issues in detail and decide whether or not it supports the proposal", said Mayor, Garry Moore.
Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, especially the Lyttelton Harbour Basin, have very strong historical and functional links. Many people on the Peninsula look to Christchurch for employment and services such as shopping, entertainment and education; while Christchurch residents have holiday homes on the peninsula and enjoy its superb open country, beaches and harbours.
The analysis undertaken suggests that there would be some modest efficiency savings as the result of an amalgamation but there would also be some increased expenditure to raise standards of some services on the peninsula more in line with those of the City.
"At the end of the day, however, the key question is, what kind of government do our communities want?", says Garry Moore. "Residents of the peninsula must decide whether they really want to look to Christchurch in terms of their government and residents of Christchurch must consider whether they are prepared to accept a city council on which rural interests are disproportionately represented with a much higher ratio of elected members to residents than would be the case across the urban area."
During the next three months, in preparing submissions, the City Council will be looking closely at the detail and will also be consulting with city residents who, to date, have not had the opportunity of any input on this issue. "Whether we end up with an amalgamation or not the Christchurch City Council will continue to build strong working links with its adjoining districts as the future prosperity and social well-being of Christchurch and rural Canterbury are inextricably linked", concludes Mayor Moore.
End of press release.