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Council codes an expensive farce for ratepayers

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Local Government Spokesman

1 April 2005

Council codes an expensive farce for ratepayers

National’s Local Government spokesman, Nick Smith, says the new code of conduct provisions of the Local Government Act are turning into an expensive farce for ratepayers and need to be examined.

“The code of conduct and complaints procedures of Labour’s new Local Government laws are costing millions of dollars and are unworkable. Already, Wellington City ratepayers are having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal challenges over petty arguments over a councillor’s conduct.

“The process of having councillors sitting in judgment on other councillors, or a mayor, is fraught with difficulty. It will inevitably look like a kangaroo court.

“If a mayor or a councillor has broken the law, that person should be prosecuted in a proper court. If the issue is about the behaviour or style of a mayor or councillor, the voters should be the judge.

“The code of conduct provisions are wide open to political point scoring and will be increasingly used for this purpose. They are a bureaucratic imposition that will simply add to the costs of ratepayers and divert attention from the real issues.

“It is no wonder rates have gone up at four times the rate of inflation with this sort of extra cost. National will focus councils on improving services for ratepayers rather than letting them be diverted by these sorts of sideshows,” Dr Smith says.


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