Tranzwatching in Nelson, Te Wai Pounamu, New Zealand
Compared to many overseas countries, New Zealand appears to have a high rate of amalgamation in urban areas. This is important in building effective transit, because public transport networks typically reach across extended urban areas - when multiple city, county and district councils must be consulted, it can become extremely complicated.
A relatively rare exception to the amalgamation patterns of NZ nowadays is the town of Richmond (population c14,000) immediately south of the city of Nelson. Richmond is the administrative centre of the large rural area that is part of the Tasman Distric extending across the top eastern corner of Te Wai Pounamu - but Richmond itself has now become geographically more or less an outer suburb of Nelson city (60,000 metropop) with a high proportion of residents working in Nelson city proper.
The Local Government Commission is in fact working towards a poll of both areas, to see if joining Nelson city and Tasman region will find favour with the necessary 50% plus voters in both areas.
In the meantime tensions often found in other cities have arisen, with differing attitudes, funding available or funding priorities for different council.
In particular some Nelson City Councilors feel Richmond is not paying its share of a public transport system that connects Richmond to downtown Nelson and preventing planned improvements to this service.