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Local Government Bill dangers starting to sink in

Media release 19 November 2002

Dangers of Local Government Bill starting to sink in

The dangers contained in the Local Government Bill are at last starting to sink in, says Business NZ.

Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says the Bill introduces massive changes that will cost ratepayers dearly, but the complexity of the Bill has meant very little media comment.

"Today the Leader of the Opposition and the Mayor of Auckland have both come out swinging against the Bill.

"Bill English has pointed out that this legislation would give wide powers to create race-based seats on councils, for example.

"John Banks has pointed out the duplication and costs that would result from the change in legislation, and the threat to getting new infrastructure built.

"Small businesses, who bear the brunt of rates because of rating differentials, will be pleased with their comments today.

"The Bill would encourage more councils to operate businesses in competition with local companies, funded by rates paid by those companies. It would make it easier for councils to borrow to fund operating expenditure and encourage councils to invest in wild schemes. It would weaken councils' financial accountability generally.

"The Bill is being rushed through Parliament. Ratepayers haven't been properly informed about its consequences, nor had a proper chance to have their say.

"There is a clear need for more public education and debate over this Bill. It should not be rammed through just before Christmas when no-one's listening.

"Given the scope, complexity and dangers of this Bill, it should be delayed for proper scrutiny next year," Mr Carlaw said.


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