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Rate hikes election botch-up focus of Nats policy

Rate hikes & election botch-up focus of Nats policy

Big changes are needed in local government to prevent further high rate increases and avoid another botched local body election, says National’s Local Government spokesman, Nick Smith.

Dr Smith today released National’s local government policy proposal.

Rates have increased by 28.8% since Labour came to office and by 10.4% in the last year.

Dr Smith says such increases put huge financial pressure on family budgets.

“These increases can be largely attributed to the raft of costly laws imposed on councils in areas like rating, gaming, prostitution, resource management and building,” he says.

“These new laws must be substantially rewritten if we are to keep rates at a reasonable and manageable level.”

National’s policy document includes the redefinition of the role of councils to focus on infrastructure and efficient services, reducing compliance costs from planning law, removing Treaty of Waitangi requirements, improving financial reporting, and requiring rates to be determined on the basis of who gets the benefit of the services.

“We must also completely rewrite Labour’s Local Electoral Act that caused the debacle of month-long delays in some results, a record low turnout and 100,000 invalid votes,” says Dr Smith.

“National will conduct local body elections under a consistent voting system and give consideration to the Electoral Commission managing the poll, rather than it being administered by 86 separate councils.

“Labour’s record on local government is one of expensive mismanagement. National will offer electors commonsense reforms that will ensure ratepayers get better value for money from councils,” says Dr Smith.

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