The People Have Spoken – it is Time to Move Forward
Saturday 21 April 2012
The people of Tasman and Nelson have spoken with the majority of those that chose to vote believing the current two Council structures enables the most appropriate representation for the respective communities.
Tasman’s Mayor Richard Kempthorne today welcomed the decision and wanted to thank all those who took the opportunity to play a role in the debate.
“Without the voters we would not have any finality to the question,” said Mayor Kempthorne.
“This debate has been going on for some time with both sides of the argument being well publicised. Proponents of both sides have passionately expressed their views. The poll was not really about which view was right or wrong but a question about which governance model the residents in Nelson and Tasman prefer. The results speak for themselves.”
Mayor Kempthorne said the result of retaining Tasman District and Nelson City was the view preferred by the majority of voters and this will now determine the future of the two communities. “This is a good example of how democracy works.”
“As elected representatives of our communities, we now have a duty to ensure the wishes of the voters are realised.”
“I am personally committed to working with the Nelson City Council, and any other coalition of Councils, such at the Top of the South and the South Island Strategic Alliance, where that work can lead to delivering either better or more efficient services.”
“One of the positive aspects of the debate is that it has generated a relatively high level of community engagement with the number of returned voting papers surpassing the number of votes returned for Council elections.”
Mayor Kempthorne said this level of engagement is valuable as both Councils focus their energies on delivering the services their residents wish for.
In noting there were a number of people who voted in favour of an amalgamation Mayor Kempthorne said those views should not be discounted.
“Throughout the debate there have been claims of lost opportunities because of the two council governance structure. I invite those who wish to, to contact me and I will raise those matters for discussion between the Councils.”
Ironically the proposal to unite the two Councils has been divisive. Mayor Kempthorne said this is understandable when people are so passionate about the place they live in.
“However, we now have to move on and work together to deliver the governance and services that this region deserves.”
“The two Councils already have about 40 shared services which achieve either better levels of service or cost efficiencies for our areas. We need to build on these to provide the best governance we can for our communities while retaining our current strong representation of the communities we serve.”