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So Much For "Partnership"

Helen Clark's idea of "partnership" between central and local Government didn't last long, according to National's local Government spokesman Alec Neill.

"Partnership now seems to mean doing what politicians in Wellington tell you.

"The Government's plan to stop Auckland City Council selling certain assets is blatant interference. Helen Clark's talk about a new partnership between central and local Government is a fraud - about as genuine as her signature on a charity-auctioned painting.

"The Local Government Amendment Bill provides for councils to have the power of general competency. But on the first occasion a local council has tried doing something central Government doesn't like, the heavy hand of Government has come down with a new decree.

"Many people in local Government are concerned with this interference, and question how it fits in with the Government's promise to give local bodies the ability to determine their own destiny.

"The Local Government Amendment Bill hasn't yet reached gestation - in fact it is still before the select committee, but already the Government is throwing in retrospective conditions on non-core asset retention. If the Government is going to add pensioner housing to the list of things councils can't sell, where will it stop?", asked Mr Neill.

Ends

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