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National Launches Campaign on Local Govt. Bill

Bill English National Party Leader

20 November 2002

National Launches Campaign on Local Government Bill

Rates and rent bills are set to rise under the Local Government Bill to be pushed through Parliament under urgency before Christmas, according to National Party Leader Bill English.

"This piece of legislation has the potential to paralyse local authorities, at the same time it'll force up rent and rates throughout the country."

Mr English made the comments at the launch of a National Party campaign to get the Bill changed after questioning provisions to give Maori special seats and extra consultation.

"Labour is scared to face challenges on the Treaty.

"They are trying to off-load all these problems onto your local council.

"Helen Clark's plan is to push through the Local Government Bill in the last week before Christmas, so you'll be too busy to notice.

"This is the biggest constitutional change since the introduction of MMP.

"We've written letters to hundreds of ratepayer groups around the country and we're planning a series of public meetings to let people know what to expect if the Local Government Bill is allowed to sneak through.

"It opens the door on consultation stalemates and gives local authorities unrivalled power.

"That should be of real concern to every one of us who've ever questioned council spending or investment," Mr English says.

"There're also fears it will erode rural representation, opening the way for small towns to lose their council seats.

"It's likely to set up scraps between city, district and regional councils - then of course central Government may still intervene," says Mr English

"National's forcing the Government to back away from controversial clauses in the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill, it's forced the Crown to take the leaky homes issue seriously and now we're determined to do the same with the Local Government Bill.

"National believes in strong communities, but the Local Government Bill will dump more costs on ratepayers and give special concessions to Maori," Mr English says.


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