The unitary authority idea is a do or die approach and I believe the latter would be the case. With only 90,000 people and a huge geographic area we simply would not have the resources to provide ourselves with the infrastructure we require (regardless of how much we manage to recover in development contributions), let alone the costs of running the activities currently handled by the ARC.
What has bothered me is that by going for a unitary authority and having the Government simply disagree, we will have left a legacy of disgruntled people who will never appreciate any benefits that do arise from the new arrangments.
My personal preference has always been to work up a submission which secures the green belt (however we define that) and ensures that the city development leap frogs across into Waimauku/Helensville in the west and Silverdale/Orewa/Hibiscus in the east. We will get all the infrastructure benefits and be able to work through our local affairs through our local board.
We will be able to lose the high costs of the overhead infrastructure we have with RDC – we must have a very high cost per ratepayer of our Council administration compared with others, not because they are inefficient or doing a poor job, but simply because with only 90,000 people we lose on the economies of scale.
Rodney is struggling to provide infrastructure across such a diverse and geographically large area that on our own, with Auckland continuing to bark at our borders we run the risk of failure.