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Response to statement from Federated Farmers

MEDIA RELEASE

LGNZ response to statement from Federated Farmers


For immediate release on 13 June 2006

Local Government New Zealand agrees with a statement made by Federated Farmers today that councils need more money from road users for local roads.

“This is just one issue that we are working through with central government at the moment. We are currently undertaking a joint review of local government funding with the Government. The purpose of the review is to examine affordability issues for both councils and ratepayers relating to the range of tasks requested by communities and those imposed by Government. The review is looking at a number of funding issues and mechanisms including how vital infrastructure is funded,” says Local Government New Zealand’s President Basil Morrison.

“I would also observe that the information from Federated Farmers’ analysis of rating has been taken from council’s Draft Long Term Council Community Plans. It is worth noting that these plans are still in draft form and many councils are still consulting on their LTCCPs with their communities. Their rates are yet to be set, the plans won’t be adopted until 1 July 2006

“The LTCCP consultation process lets community groups, individuals and organisations have input into council planning and it’s pleasing to hear that Federated Farmers have been exercising their democratic right in doing this. We encourage all individuals and community groups to have their say in any consultation process.”

A major driver of rates increases in many parts of the country is the increasingly pressing necessity for New Zealand to achieve a rise in its standard of living and ensure its continued investment in world class infrastructure.

“The Local Government Act 2002 gave councils extra responsibilities in the areas of community and social wellbeing. However, an analysis of the council plans reveals that the majority of council expenditure is not on “new” tasks, but is still concentrated on upgrading and maintaining traditional local government infrastructure such as stormwater, water supplies, transport and roading. Like the rest of New Zealand, councils are acknowledging the need to address any past under-investment, and develop a platofmr of robust infrastructure as quickly as possible.

There are also a number of new compliance costs that councils must meet in relation to to new or increased standards, or new levels of compliance. Examples of these cost drivers include the changes to the Building Act and the audit requirements leading up to the release of the LTCCP’s to their current community scrutiny.

These new requirements have created additional costs for all councils and they have not been matched by a corresponding increase in resources. These issues are currently being discussed with Government, in the funding review and elsewhere.

Local Government New Zealand invites Federated Farmers and other interested organisations to work constructively with the local government sector to address funding concerns.

ENDS

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