Amalgamation of Hawke's Bay's five councils will cost ratepayers, but running shared services between the group could save cash with no loss of democracy, a Napier city councillor believes.
Councillor Michelle Pyke returned from the Bay of Plenty investigating the nine councils in the region which had established a local authority shared services company.
"Many Napier and Hawke's Bay people are justifiably concerned that the Government is about to remove their democratic right to have a say regarding any proposed amalgamation proposal," Ms Pyke said, eluding to the proposal by Better Hawke's Bay.
"Their [ratepayers] preference is that all five Hawke's Bay councils, Napier, Hastings, Wairoa, Central Hawke's Bay and Hawke's Bay Regional Council, seriously work together to create our own local authority shared services company. And I agree with them 100 per cent. Napier City Council did make moves to start this process last year however Hastings District Council didn't pick it up."
Cr Pyke provided copies of all the documents regarding the Bay of Plenty shared services company to all of Hawke's Bay's elected representatives.
" ... and to seek an initial discussion between the five councils to work towards the creation of a share services company. Amalgamation will cost, shared services will save, with no loss of democracy. It's that simple."
Cr Pyke, a "pro-shared services devotee", met the Mayor of Tauranga, Stuart Crosby, to discuss the experiences with shared services and thoughts about amalgamation of councils.
She said the Bay of Plenty councils had proved a shared services model would achieve savings with no loss of democracy.
Bay of Plenty councils could collectively achieve contracts for classified advertising, office supplies, land information, telephony, video conferencing and other important contracts like fuel supply.
Combined software licensing would produce an annual saving of over $75,000 for the next three years. It had also achieved long-term savings on council insurances, saving about $850,000 in the first year.
The Bay of Plenty group had two basic approaches, shared services and joint procurement. "Each in their own way offering the benefits of size, collaboration and shared knowledge while protecting democracy by allowing councils to make their own choices and through better use of resources."
Senior staff and CEOs of Hawke's Bay councils are to meet next month to talk about forming a share services company.