Bring back the Mount Borough Council?

By: Steve Morris

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

“I’ll be in Tauranga at 10 o’clock” I say.

“You’re already in Tauranga,” comes the response from a Council colleague.

“No, I’m in the Mount at present” I reply.

“There’s only one city around here; it’s called Tauranga,” the reply.

Do we live in different towns or does the fact that we live under one council consign the Mount to be a suburb of Tauranga?

I suspect it depends on which side of the bridge you live on and whether you were here before the harbour bridge or more recently.

Mount Maunganui successfully petitioned to become its own borough in 1945. In 1989, through the Lange government’s council representation reforms, Mount Maunganui Borough and Papamoa (then part of Tauranga County) were absorbed with Tauranga City into Tauranga District Council. It was an unpopular move for Mount residents, with a significant protest at Coronation Park, and supported by Papamoa residents; inspired by Mount Mayor Wayne Moultrie’s call for an eastern council from the Mount to Te Puke.

Such a council would have a population of around 60,000 people today. There’s little appetite from Government to consider devolution or even amalgamation with WBOP District Council or Regional Council any time soon. What is within our control is a representation review over the next 12 months. We could give our towns/suburbs their own elected community boards; increase the number of wards across the city or remove them all. Whatever the decision, it should be based upon better representation for residents rather than better chances of getting elected for councillors!