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Local Govt To Get More Expensive?

Rates have increased at twice the rate of inflation over the last decade, and the Local Government Bill will not put the brakes on, says Business NZ.

Speaking to his organisation's select committee submission on the Local Government Bill, Chief Executive Simon Carlaw said the Bill's proposed 'power of general competence' would make it easier for councils to get involved in a huge array of projects on the basis of new, broad criteria.

"Business already pays the largest share of rates - and so would pay the price for councils' adventures. But those adventures could include enterprises that compete with local businesses. It's not fair to let councils compete against local companies, funded by rates paid by those companies.

"Business would rather see legislation that set out the specific responsibilities of local government, rather than this approach which would let councils carry on any activity or business, do any act or enter into any transaction in promoting social, economic, environmental or cultural well being.

"Business would like to see more transparency and accountability in local government - but the Bill promises even less than at present, with considerably weaker financial management provisions.

"Local government is a huge sector that affects everyone, but especially small business. The total asset value of local government in New Zealand is nearly twice that of all the companies listed on the Stock Exchange. Business pays for a disproportionate part of this and every dollar more on rates is a dollar not available for sustainable job and economic growth."

Business NZ's submission on the Local Government Bill 2001 is on http://www.businessnz.org.nz/ under 'submissions'


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