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Statement from David Thornton on election result

10th November 2008

Statement from David Thornton on election result

Hope for ratepayers in election of National-led Government - need for strong cabinet presence for local government.

A National-led government could be good news for ratepayers and local government generally - particularly with ACT as a partner.

While the number one priority for the new government is the economy, early action is called for on the local government front as councils start making final decisions on new 10-year plans and rates increases over that ten year period.

The promised action of early reform of the Resource Management Act provides an opportunity to make changes which will reduce the cost of resource management to both council's and individuals.

Ratepayers will remember that National supported a first reading of Rodney Hide's Rates Capping Bill two years ago - and that Bill was only lost because of the opposition of New Zealand First.

National, Act and United Future have all been supportive of the calls for rates reform spearheaded by NoMoreRates.

After the defeat of the RatesCapping Bill the Government set up the Independent Rates Inquiry which reported some 15 months ago with 96 recommendations - very few of which have been accepted or implemented by the outgoing Labour Government.

The new government must now review that Rates Inquiry Report and work with local government to bring about sorely needed reform.

In early April the government will also be faced with recommendations from the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.

It will also become obvious that reform of local government is needed throughout the country - not least in a drive to reduce the cost of bureaucracy in local government which has grown beyond acceptable and necessary levels.

To meet these challenges it must be hoped that the new Government will give Local Government a more prominent profile and greater weight around the Cabinet table.


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