Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Sandra Lee: Help restore trust in democracy

Hon Sandra Lee
Minister of Local Government

News Release
Help restore trust in democracy Lee tells Local Government communicators
For immediate release
30 March 2000

The Minister of Local Government, Hon Sandra Lee, has urged a conference of regional council communications staff from throughout New Zealand to help re-build the trust that some electors have lost in their local democracy over the last decade.

"Good communication between councils and electors, and greater participation, help to produce better decisions and benefit everyone," she said.

Ms Lee told the Local Government Regional Communications conference in Wellington today that evidence indicated only a small number of people were taking part in the annual planning process of local authorities, even though this was the major way councils communicated with their electors.

"The idea that people need to know that their views are valued is a particularly important one," she said. "Regardless of how well informed an electorate is, people will not participate if there is a perception that the local authority is not willing to listen. It all comes down to building trust."

Ms Lee said it was not only a legal requirement but also a basic tenet of democracy that local authorities listened to and carefully considered the views put to them on issues.

"The cynicism of voters is a challenge to us all as elected representatives," she said.

Ms Lee also told the conference that the Local Government Act was a hindrance to effective elector-council communication, and there was a real need for the legislation to be replaced.

She said the Act was a collection of fragments enacted at different times, reflecting different approaches which since 1974 had been amended 150 times, in a very ad hoc way.

"Not suprisingly, it can be confusing and unclear for local authorities and citizens alike," said Ms Lee.

She said the range of options for possible approaches to replacing the Act included:

 a “rationalisation and consolidation” on existing assumptions about the relationships between central and local government; to

 a “powers of a natural person” approach (effectively abandoning detailed prescription of how particular functions are to be undertaken); to

 a “power of general competence” approach (involving some lesser or greater degree of de-regulation of the range of functions local authorities can undertake).

Ms Lee concluded that the key to developing good communications required the elected representatives to ensure they had the political will to do so.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Science Advisors: Stopping Family Violence – The Evidence

A new report “Every 4 minutes: A discussion paper on preventing family violence in New Zealand” by Justice sector Chief Science Advisor, Dr Ian Lambie, discusses the evidence and asks us, as a community, to get involved...

Dr Lambie says family violence is widespread and goes on behind closed doors in all suburbs, affects the childhoods of many New Zealanders, and disturbs adult and family relationships. More>>


Conflicts, Inadequacies: IPCA Finds Police Investigation Flawed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police investigation into inappropriate contact between a teacher and a student in Gisborne in 2014 was deficient in several respects. More>>


PM's Press Conference Multimedia: Grace Millane, ACC Levy Hold, Absent Execs

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her Monday post-cabinet press conference with an emotional comment on the murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. More>>


Child Poverty Monitor: Food Poverty Due To Inadequate Income, Housing Cost

The latest Child Poverty Monitor released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals alarming facts about children suffering the impacts of family income inadequacy, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). More>>


Open Government: Proactively Release Of Ministerial Diaries

All Government Ministers will for the first time release details of their internal and external meetings, Minister for State Services (Open Government) Chris Hipkins announced today. More>>


Billion Trees: Questions Over Shanes Jones Carbon Claims

“Officials estimate the actual value of the One Billion Trees (OBT) scheme will be just a third of the amount Mr Jones claimed, at about $900 million, and that he padded the number by including $800 million of ETS benefits and $1 billion of business-as-usual activity..." More>>

'Sovereignty Concerns': Plans To Sign UN Migration Pact

New Zealand is likely going to sign up to a United Nations migration pact this week as long as it can iron out a concern around sovereignty. More>>


Most Vulnerable Face Most Risk: Sea Level Rise Threatens Major Infrastructure

The burden of sea-level rise will weigh on the most vulnerable unless a new approach is developed and legislated, a new report says. More>>





InfoPages News Channels