Wairarapa can afford to become a unitary authority, say local leaders.
The region's mayors, MP and regional councillor held a press conference yesterday to talk about their decision to back a stand-alone council.
The three councils all voted on Friday to endorse the option and recommend public consultation on the structure.
South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples spoke on behalf of a working party, which includes representatives from all the councils, to explain the reasons for the preferred option.
The working party had already presented its vision to a forum of councillors from the wider Wellington region last week.
Mrs Staples said there were three key questions Wairarapa residents needed to think about based around Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) subsidies and representation.
Those at yesterday's conference - Masterton Mayor Garry Daniell, Carterton Mayor Ron Mark, GWRC Wairarapa councillor Gary McPhee and Wairarapa MP John Hayes - said they disputed figures provided by GWRC as to how much was spent on Wairarapa services.
Figures provided to then-Carterton Mayor Mr McPhee in 2008 estimated the region was subsidised by about $4.5 million annually.
A report commissioned by the three Wairarapa district councils estimated the figure to be about $11.2 million.
Mrs Staples said this was only an estimate as GWRC did not keep Wairarapa-specific figures, but she still questioned what had caused the large increase in four years.
Mrs Staples said a unitary authority would save money with the amalgamation of the three councils, dividends, and a transfer of assets to Wairarapa among other things, which would make it sustainable.
She said there would be an impact on ratepayers, no matter what form of council is implemented but it was unknown to what extent this would be.
Mrs Staples said there was a big difference in priorities for rural, provincial parts of the country as opposed to the metropolitan areas. "It's not right or wrong. It's different".
She feared Wairarapa would lose its representation under the proposed "super city" structure.
* Carterton district councillor Ruth Carter voted for endorsing the preferred option of a Wairarapa unitary authority for public consultation, not against, as reported in the Wairarapa Times-Age yesterday. Masterton district councillors Doug Bracewell and Chris Peterson did not vote against the recommendations, as reported, but abstained from voting.
We apologise for the errors.
The three key questions for Wairarapa
* Will the current Greater Wellington Regional Council funding continue in a new super city council with a multitude of city, district and regional challenges?
* Should Wairarapa: A. Give up grass-roots democracy and right to self-determination and control or B. Give that away on the assumption that a new and different Wellington council will continue to subsidise it?
* Does a line on a map stop Wairarapa working with Wellington (and others)?