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

 

LGA bill proposals threaten erosion of local democracy

NEWS RELEASE

2 August 2016

LGA bill proposals threaten erosion of local democracy

Wellington City Council has joined its Hutt City neighbours to oppose specific changes to the Local Government Act – with Mayor Celia Wade-Brown calling aspects of the proposed legislation “an erosion of local democracy”.

The Mayor says Wellington City Council’s submission on the LGA 2002 Amendment Bill focuses on a proposal that the Local Government Commission be able to unilaterally create ‘council-controlled organisations’ (CCOs) without input from affected councils or local communities.

“This provision is a significant erosion of local democracy with little evidence that this power is in any way required,” she says.

Mayor Wade-Brown also opposes a proposal that CCOs be able to create bylaws.

“The amendment bill gives too much power to the Local Government Commission. I’ve been consistent in saying that any amalgamation must require a referendum of local voters and not be decided by an unelected body.”

Last week Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace called the bill “loose in its language” and offering “vague guarantees for preserving local democracy”.

Wellington Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says Wellington City Council’s formal submission on the amendment bill says it agrees with the “drivers for change” behind the bill and that there is a need for local-government reform.

“The need for reform is clear. For instance, the Wellington super city debate was polarising as the options presented to the public were extreme. No middle ground could be reached due to the process. This has lost the region some years of progress.”

Aspects of the Bill empower councils to investigate changes, and more easily set up structures that allow for greater shared services and potential economies of scale. Wellington has been leading in this area with the advent of Wellington Water and WREDA.

“Decisions on when change is appropriate are best left to those councils and communities that will benefit from those changes,” Cr Lester says.

“There are some very real issues around the preservation of local democracy, particularly the ability for the LGC to impose change without a poll or other mandate. We oppose this provision strongly.”

He supported Mayor Wallace in saying the wording of the bill “is, in many places, problematic or ambiguous”.

The full text of Wellington City Council’s submission is attached.

Wellington City Council submission on The LGA 2002 Amendment bill (No2)

Thank you for this opportunity to submit on this bill. We wish to be heard at select committee. Due to the compressed timeline of this consultation process, we may wish to traverse issues that we do not address in this submission when we appear.

Overall position:

We agree with the drivers cited behind this bill cited in the cabinet paper and subsequent material. We agree Local Government is facing some challenging times ahead over the next few decades and we applaud the drive towards tailored solutions for unique contexts. Local Government by its very nature has a diversity of needs depending on the context, and the ability to tailor solutions to these varying contexts is exactly what the sector needs.

The need for reform is clear. For instance, the Wellington super city debate was polarising as the options were polarised in their very nature. No middle ground could be reached due to the process. This has lost the region some years of progress.

There is, however some very real issues around the preservation of local democracy, particularly the ability for the LGC to impose change without a poll or other mandate. We oppose this provision strongly.

The wording of the bill is, in many places, problematic or ambiguous at this time. We want to ensure the provisions in the legislation are fit for purpose, particularly with respect to how a mandate for change is achieved, and how the sharing of power over CCOs will work in practice. For us, these issues emanate from the process to date. We note that prior to the bill being introduced into the house there had not been consultation with the sector, and the timeframe around this current consultation is short. We hope this timing is a result of coincidence rather than haste or opportunism.

We will restrict our commentary to the high level issues, dealing with only one or two points of detail. We note the SOLGM submission will address several of the specific drafting issues currently in the bill, and we concur with these except where we note.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need.

Spot the difference with New Zealand, where DHBs are under intense pressure to reduce deficits within a climate of chronic underfunding. More>>

 
 

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>

ALSO:

Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>

ALSO:

Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election