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National to review local government legislation


National to review local government legislation

National Party Leader Don Brash is pledging to work with local government to reduce costs for ratepayers.

“We don’t want to play the blame game. We want to work with you on how we can ensure ratepayers get efficient services at least cost.”

Dr Brash made the comments in an address to the Local Government New Zealand Annual Conference in Auckland today.

“National wants to work with the local government sector on reducing the burden on local governments of central government legislation.

“We propose establishing a joint working party between Local Government New Zealand and an incoming National Government to review the full range of local government legislation to reduce the cost to your ratepayers.

“Our worry is that, far too often, central government has become overly prescriptive vis-à-vis local government in ways that don’t work and which just add costs for the ratepayer,” says Dr Brash.

Statistics New Zealand figures show there has been a 10.4% increase in local government rates in the year to June 2004 during the first full year of operation of the new Local Government Act.

“By a large margin, this increase is the biggest for any year in the last 10 years. The 10.4% increase is more than four times the increase in the Consumer Price Index for the same period, of 2.4%.

“This increase is simply not acceptable. It is making budgeting for families on fixed incomes more difficult and it is undermining the competitiveness of New Zealand businesses,” says Dr Brash.

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