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Local government remits show clear direction

Local government remits show clear direction on fluoride, council amalgamations and earthquake-prone buildings

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick believes there is clear direction behind the latest remits about topical and important factors affecting local government in New Zealand.

Speaking from the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference in Nelson, Rotorua’s Mayor said she was in favour of the three remits on earthquake-prone buildings, fluoride and the reorganisation of local authorities, passed on the conference’s opening day.

“These are very important issues that local authorities are currently wrestling with. The decisions to advocate to central government are timely and should prove valuable to all communities,” Mrs Chadwick said.

“Rotorua is affected by all of these things but that doesn’t mean we’re alone. There’s now a collective strength of view across all local authorities for our communities to be considered in future legislation discussions and decisions on these issues.”
Local Government New Zealand’s president Lawrence Yule said: “We have a mandate from New Zealand’s local government sector to move forward and advocate strongly on these matters.”

The first remit was a request for LGNZ to advocate to Government for introduction of a more flexible framework to assist building owners with strengthening earthquake buildings, including a variety of financial incentives and tools for meeting the challenge of high insurance costs.

The second remit also urged the government to amend legislation so that any decisions on adding fluoride to drinking water supplies are made by the Director-General of Health rather than by local authorities.

The third remit asked LGNZ to form a new policy position on legislation and process governing reorganisation of local authorities. This would mean no reorganisation could occur against the wishes of a majority of potential voters; that independent expert evidence would need to demonstrate that any amalgamation proposal had benefits that substantially exceeded the costs; and that all current and potential amalgamation proposals be postponed until legislative amendment occurs.


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