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

Gordon Campbell: A Govt. Christmas Bad News Dump -The Skycity Convention Center Blowout & A Negative MBIE Review

If the government really did have good tidings of great joy you can bet it wouldn’t be strewing them about at Christmas time – which is, traditionally, the dumping ground for terrible news that the government fervently hopes the public will be too distracted to notice. And so verily this Christmas Eve we learn of (a) the explosion of costs to the taxpayer and ratepayer of the vile SkyCity convention centre in Auckland and that (b) the government’s flagship MBIE “super-ministry” run by its Minister of Everything is a disaster zone of incompetence and mismanagement. MBIE is a Titanic looking for an iceberg, or so it would seem. More>>

 

Parliament Adjourns:

Greens: CAA Airport Door Report Conflicts With Brownlee’s Claims

The heavily redacted report into the incident shows conflicting versions of events as told by Gerry Brownlee and the Christchurch airport security staff. The report disputes Brownlee’s claim that he was allowed through, and states that he instead pushed his way through. More>>

ALSO:

TAIC: Final Report On Grounding Of MV Rena

Factors that directly contributed to the grounding included the crew:
- not following standard good practice for planning and executing the voyage
- not following standard good practice for navigation watchkeeping
- not following standard good practice when taking over control of the ship. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On The Pakistan Schoolchildren Killings

The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto something that’s become a pop cultural meme. Fans of the Homeland TV series will be well aware of the collusion between sections of the Pakistan military/security establishment on one hand and sections of the Taliban of the other… More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire:
The Politician’s Song

am a perfect picture of the modern politic-i-an:
I don’t precisely have a plan so much as an ambition;
‘Say what will sound most pleasant to the public’ is my main dictum:
And when in doubt attack someone who already is a victim More>>

ALSO:

Flight: Review Into Phillip Smith’s Escape Submitted To Government

The review follows an earlier operational review by the Department of Corrections and interim measures put in place by the Department shortly after prisoner Smith’s escape, and will inform the Government Inquiry currently underway. More>>

ALSO:

Intelligence: Inspector-General Accepts Apology For Leak Of Report

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August 2011 to media prior to its publication. The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further. More>>

ALSO:

Drink: Alcohol Advertising Report Released

The report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship has been released today, with Ministers noting that further work will be required on the feasibility and impact of the proposals. More>>

ALSO:

Other Report:

Leaked Cabinet Papers: Treasury Calls For Health Cuts

Leaked Cabinet papers that show that Government has been advised to cut the health budget by around $200 million is ringing alarm bells throughout the nursing and midwifery community. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news