Municipal mergers in New Zealand: an empirical analysis of the proposed amalgamation of Hawke’s Bay Councils
Kortt, MA, Dollery, B & Drew, J 2016, 'Municipal mergers in New Zealand: an empirical analysis of the proposed amalgamation of Hawke’s Bay Councils', Local Government Studies, vol.42, no. 2, pp. 228-247.
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Local government policymakers across the developed world have frequently employed municipal amalgamation to improve the operation of local councils, and New Zealand is no exception. This paper empirically examines claims made in Potential Costs and Savings of Local Government Reform in Hawke’s Bay that the merger of the five local authorities in the Hawke’s Bay Region of New Zealand would generate significant cost-savings. We empirically test for the existence of scale economies in a single merged Hawke’s Bay council and find that no cost-savings can be expected. This removes a key argument for a forced Hawke’s Bay amalgamation.