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Local Government Reform Bill Passable

2 July 2004

Local Government Reform Bill Passable

New Zealand First was pleased to support the passage of the Local Government Law Reform Bill No 3, however there are still significant shortcomings that will inevitably have repercussions later on.

“Particularly pleasing to New Zealand First was the funding and legislative help given to the Chatham Islands, enabling their council to fulfill statutory responsibilities,” said local government spokesman Jim Peters.

“The New Zealand Government’s contribution to the Chatham Islands is very small compared to the millions of dollars taken away from the Chatham Islands by fishing interests, decade after decade.

“However, most surprising about the bill was the extreme reluctance to accept the need for a casting vote provision for Mayors and regional chairpersons. Finally the provision was accepted.

“Also surprising was the inability to accept the submission made by the Marlborough District Council amending the Local Government Rating Act 2002, clarifying the ability for a council to fund localised projects by lump sum contributions.

“New Zealand First intends to pursue the ability of Marlborough and other local authorities to be able to establish lump sum regimes by the preparation of a Private Member’s Bill.

“New Zealand First still believes that there is an anomaly in regard to the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act and the ability of councils to deal with all urgent matters,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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