Bay of Plenty council merger must be evidence based

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The Public Service Association (PSA) is calling for a cautious approach and extensive consultation before any possible amalgamation of the Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils. This follows a proposal by local business people to amalgamate the councils in time for the 2016 election.

The PSA represents staff working at both councils.

Glenn Barclay, PSA Acting National Secretary, said “Local government amalgamations can pose many risks, both to council staff and to the services that residents enjoy.”

“Before going ahead, amalgamations must be supported by evidence and demonstrate clear advantages over the status quo.

“Community engagement must be genuine and run throughout the entire proposal process.

“Democratic ownership and control of public services should be a cornerstone of any proposal.

“Any proposal must ensure the ability of council workers to maintain quality services, and to enjoy decent work.

“Local government exists to serve the needs of local communities, and amalgamation proposals must safeguard those needs,” said Glenn Barclay.