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United Future secures last minute change in local

United Future secures last minute change in local body Bill

United Future New Zealand MP, Larry Baldock, today welcomed the reporting back to Parliament of the controversial Local Government Bill, the first major reform of local body legislation since 1974.

Mr Baldock said “Throughout the select committee process on this Bill, we have been critically aware of two conflicting sets of issues.

“On the one hand, we recognise the strong calls from local government for certainty and an end to ongoing uncertainty as a result of delays in the passage of the new legislation.

“On the other hand, we acknowledge the strong concerns of the business community and ratepayers groups about the scope of the new legislation, including the introduction of new rules for Maori representation; the cost of extensive consultation requirements and; the general powers given to Councils. There are legitimate concerns about the broad nature of these new powers and their wider implications.

“United Future has been pressing these concerns on the Government extensively in recent times and we reached an agreement at the 11th hour which we believe will go a long way to addressing both sets of concerns and made it possible for us to support the Bill’s report back to Parliament.”

Mr Baldock said “Under our agreement, the Government has accepted our proposal that the Bill be amended to provide for an evaluation of the operation of this Act and the Local Electoral Act 2001 to be conducted by the Local Government Commission as soon as practicable after the local body elections in 2007.

“In addition, the Commission must report to the Minister by July 1, 2005, if it considers amendments should be made to the Act before the 2007 local body elections.”

Mr Baldock said that when the commission carries out its 2007 review, it must determine and assess

the impact of conferring on local authorities full capacity, rights, powers, and privileges and

the cost-effectiveness of consultation and planning procedures and

whether community participation in local government has increased and whether that increase is due to STV or the provisions of the local Government Act.

“This amendment meant United Future was able to support the reporting back from committee of the Local Government Bill but will vote against some clauses in the committee stage,” said Mr Baldock.

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