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Local Government Act fears shared by officials

Local Government Act fears shared by officials

A justifiable "we told you so" from the National Party today after secret papers revealed the Government was warned against pushing ahead with controversial Local Government legislation.

"When National raised the alarm on what we saw as the biggest constitutional change since MMP, we were accused of scaremongering," says the Party's Local Government spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"When National predicted councils would use their new powers to ramp up costs and increase rates, we were shouted down - but now we know the whole truth," he says.

"Documents released in today's National Business Review Newspaper show advisors in the Ministry of Economic Development warned the Government last April there would be big problems with the Local Government Act.

"The Act, which was pushed through Parliament in the rush before Christmas, is seriously flawed and not much has changed since those initial warnings," says Mr Brownlee.

"The report says 'local government is mostly a dominant or monopoly supplier of services' and 'councils tend to use that position to restrict supply of services and charge more for them that would otherwise be justified'.

"If the Government was serious about economic growth and improving conditions for business it wouldn't have ignored the MED advice," Mr Brownlee says.

"And because it's so confusing, the majority of councils around the country have no idea when they'll be making the changes to fit within the new legislation.

"It's yet another prime example of a Government with no idea, poorly executing it's own ideological agenda at the expense of ratepayers," Mr Brownlee says.

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