Wānaka councillors say they understand the strong support for a petition calling for Upper Clutha to divorce Queenstown Lakes District Council.
But deputy-mayor Calum MacLeod has warned that separations are not simple, pointing to the “Brexit fiasco” which surrounded Britain’s move to leave the European Union.
Quentin Smith backed an investigation into different options, “but I am under no illusion that there are significant challenges to succeeding and forming our own Council.”
He said it came as no surprise that Upper Clutha residents did not think being part of the QLDC was the best way forward.
“The pros are self-evident, in that we would be in charge of our own decision making and funding to the extent that local government has mandate - but there are cons and challenges as well that we need to understand.”
He said those challenges included the financial implications of such a move, the impact on rates, borrowing and capacity for investment and the economies of scale structurally.
He also said in most sectors the Upper Clutha has been “really poorly served by centralisation… centralisation through three waters, RMA reform and local government reform are a scary prospect for Wanaka.”
“I am fully supportive of a review and investigation of the representation of the Upper Clutha District by the Local Government Commission. I will also be advocating that QLDC thoroughly considers the community feedback from the Representation Review.
“This petition and the Representation Review are louder echoes of what this community has been saying for some time.
She said she was undecided whether splitting from QLDC would be the best solution.
“Having experienced the scale and complexity of what the QLDC deals with on a daily basis, I believe establishing a standalone council would be a mammoth project. I am supportive of changes to improve the current system, whether that be a fully supported and enabled Community Board, and/or a greater concentration of staff in the Upper Clutha.”