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The Passage Of The Local Government Act, 2002

For immediate release

Friday, 20 December 2002

The passage of the Local Government Act, 2002

Speaking about the passing of the Local Government Act 2002, United Future spokesperson, Larry Baldock, said "it had been a very arduous task, but satisfying and rewarding".

"The Bill which passed its First Reading in December 2001, has occupied a great deal of the Local Government and Environment Select Committee's time."

"As a new Member to the House and select committee in August of this year, I found it a real challenge to get up to speed with the legislation after having missed the opportunity to hear many of the submissions in person.

"United Future voted for the Second and Third Reading while opposing the motions for urgency through the House this past week. I still believe we would have had a better outcome from the Bill had we had time over the January/February period for more local councils and original submitters to have looked at the changes and given us some feedback.

"However, we did not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. United Future supported the legislation believing that it is long overdue for review of the 1974 Act and is something that many councils around the country were already beginning to develop their operations on.

"The insertion of an evaluation requirement in the Bill, I believe, should give some comfort to those who are very concerned about the impact of the legislation on rates and worries about Councils engaging in activities which will not be supported by the community.

"United Future also opposed strongly the inclusion of the Maori Ward provision and tabled an amendment during the committee stage of the Bill's passage through the House which would have been able to delete the separate ward provisions had it not been for the Greens not supporting the amendment.

"It was rather strange to hear Rod Donald give a very clear speech outlining his conviction that Maori Wards would not provide for Maori what they were asking for and yet to see the Greens still support their inclusion in the Bill.

"This is disappointing," said Mr Baldock, "but I can only hope now that many Maori will not bother seeking to initiate referendums on the Maori Ward issues, but instead devote their energy to promoting STV at the 2004 elections which I believe have a better possibility of enabling minority representation on Councils across the nation."


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