I have further pursued the Unitary Council process by talking with the Minister of Local Government Rodney Hide a few months ago. He agreed that a Unitary Council for Dunedin would be just a matter of time, but could probably take quite some number of years.
When I asked what could speed up the process as the ORC was bleeding us dry and incompetent to boot, Rodney Hide replied “Political will”.
I have that in spades, so if elected, especially if elected for Mayor, it could happen quickly, hopefully in less than a year in principle and probably another year to actually make it happen – with some cutting and pasting of boundaries and reassigning of environmental responsibilities.
I have been pushing the issue since before I got on Council in 2004, and found muted but consistent support for a Unitary Council from many elected representatives and even from CEO Jim Harland who sees the profits of Port Otago and Chalmers Property wasted in the ORC bureaucracy. [He would rather he wasted them in the DCC]
Interestingly, the only City Councillor to publicly support a Unitary Council with any consistency over the years has been Cr Richard Walls. He has been a long term solid advocate of a Unitary Council for Dunedin.
PM Pete Hogdson has rounded on the ORC for years for their tight ham-fisted bungling with our buses, but with little effect.
While I was on Council the DCC paid for a renowned expensive public transport consultant to come down from Auckland and advise both ORC and DCC what to do to improve our woeful bus service.
His first recommendation was to have the service run by one authority only, and that that authority should be the DCC.
Years later this recommendation has still not been seriously looked at.
Nelson has a Unitary Council as does Blenheim.
ChCh recently had its regional Councillors fired for incompetence and replaced by some commissioners.
It has got to be our turn soon if we are to survive the DCC debt explosion.