Commission Should Focus on Role of Ak Local Govt
Royal Commission Should Focus on the Role of Local Government in Auckland Before Deciding its Form
The starting point for the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance should not be to decide whether Auckland should be divided into one or several cities, but rather to determine what the proper functions of local government in the region are, according to a submission presented to the Royal Commission by the New Zealand Business Roundtable.
It should then determine which functions are best organised regionally and which are genuinely local.
Executive director Roger Kerr said that the core role of local government should be to ensure the provision of 'public good' services - services that cannot be undertaken on a commercial basis by the private sector. Activities such as roading and water services, which mainly entail the provision of private goods, should be put into publicly owned commercial structures.
Tasks should be assigned to one council or agency only and should be localised as much as possible. Smaller councils that are close to their communities have generally focused on their core roles and avoided excessive regulation and a large bureaucracy.
The core role of councils should be spelled out in legislation, which should also constrain the rate of growth in council operating spending.
"Councils should only be permitted to go beyond their core functions, or increase spending more than set out in law, after submitting their proposals to binding referenda," Mr Kerr said.