Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Councils Need Hard Hitter

Councils Need Hard Hitter

25 January 2013

Opinion piece by Cameron Brewer – Auckland Councillor of Orakei

Many on the Right will be disappointed the Local Government portfolio wasn’t given back to Nick Smith. It’s instead gone to 18th ranked minister Chris Tremain.

Dr Smith was the architect of the government’s “Better Local Government” reforms. It’s a shame he hasn’t been brought back to see them through and drive their delivery, with Parliament only passing stage one of the reforms late last year.

In the decade following Labour’s 2002 Local Government Act average rates increased by seven percent a year annum and council debt quadruple. National’s reform package aims to rebalance these runaway numbers, add clarity around the role of councils, stronger governance, improved efficiency and more responsible financial management. Many ratepayers have wanted to see councils’ focus back on core business.

To get many of the country’s 78 councils back on the straight and narrow, the Government needs a Local Government Minister who will keep the pressure on and be firm with Local Government New Zealand.

I’m sure the new minister is up for the task, but he’ll need to hit the ground running as there’s a lot of resistance to change particularly from inside the Auckland Town Hall and no doubt others around the country.

It’s human nature that many in local government don’t want their wings clipped. I found it ironic that remits were passed against the government’s proposed changes at last year’s LGNZ conference held in a luxury waterfront Queenstown hotel, where Auckland Council alone sent 36 representatives.

When it comes to acting like a state government, not a local council, Auckland Council is proving to be one of the worst offenders. Mayor Len Brown is into everything. The council borrows $1b a year, or nearly $3m a day. Last year 256,000 Auckland households had an average rates increase of 8.1%, while staff numbers went up by 12% to 8,040 full-time equivalents.

This is a great opportunity for Mr Tremain to stamp his mark, drive the rest of the reforms, and protect the country’s ratepayers. The new minister needs to up the tempo on National’s local government reform programme, get in the driving seat, and deliver some positive changes for ratepayers. The pressure is on for real results, and not just from ratepayers.

These reforms are part of the Government’s broader programme for building a more productive, competitive economy and better public services.

Given New Zealand’s 78 local authorities make up 4% of GDP, spend $7.8 billion per year of public money and manage $120 billion worth of assets, the country needs them to perform and stay focused. That is the new minister’s task.

For me news and views visit www.cameronbrewer.co.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Urban Planning Report: Momentum Grows To Replace The RMA

A major new report from the Productivity Commission lays the foundation for action on the growing political consensus that the Resource Management Act and associated laws are failing both cities and the natural environment and need a complete rewrite.

Published this morning, the final “Better Urban Planning” report is the culmination of eight years of investigations ordered by the government into the causes of unaffordable housing and urban planning. More>>

 

Vaping: Quitline Supports Decision To Legalise Nicotine E-Cigarettes

Today Associate Minister of Health, Hon Nicky Wagner has announced that Government are taking the proactive step of legalising nicotine e-cigarettes, a move which Quitline is pleased to hear and support wholeheartedly. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Labour/Greens Deal (And The NZDF)

If Labour and the Greens were hoping their Budget Responsibility Rules (BRR) agreement would foster an unlikely alliance then hey… mission accomplished! Because it isn’t every day that Sue Bradford, the CTU and Matthew Hooton speak with one voice, as happened yesterday. More>>

ALSO:

Until After The Election: Extension Of Report-Back Date For Havelock North Inquiry

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today that the report-back date for the independent Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking-Water has been extended at the request of the Inquiry’s Panel. More>>

ALSO:

Little Heading For Court: Apology Over Donation/Hotel Contract Claims Not Accepted

Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. More>>

ALSO:

Biscuit Tin Of Democracy: World Heritage Site Protection, Ombudsman and Equal Pay Bills Drawn

On Thursday, 23 March 2017 three places are available on the Order Paper for the first reading of a Member’s bill. The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn... More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Plan: NZ Needs More Science, More Trees, Fewer Beasts

A combination of technology breakthroughs, much more plantation forestry, and a big switch away from pastoral, particularly dairy farming, are identified as the key elements of any approach New Zealand takes to reducing its carbon emissions to a net zero level, according to a new report sponsored by the New Zealand chapter of GLOBE, a multi-party, global parliamentary grouping. More>>

ALSO:

"Backed To Win Seats": Labour Māori Seat MPs Won't Stand On List

The Labour Party is backing a request from its Māori seat MPs to stand as electorate MPs only, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

OutsKey: John Key's Valedictory Speech

I rise to address this House for the very last time. It has been a huge privilege to have served the people of Helensville as their member of Parliament, and, of course, the people of New Zealand as their Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news