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United Future Local Government Policy

United Future Local Government Policy

United Future believes all levels of government should be representative of the people and in tune with their needs and desires. As a supporter of the Local Government Act 2002 we recognise that it is through local government that communities provide for their social, environmental, economic and cultural needs in the first instance.

United Future will:

Complete the review of Local Government funding – this would specifically include an investigation into new sources of funding for local authorities to reduce dependence on property-based rates such as, for example, redistributing a small percentage of revenue collected from GST on a regional basis;

Reduce the financial pressure on local authorities by increasing the central government’s Financial Assistance Rate for the maintenance and construction of local roads up to 80% of their total cost;

Remove GST from rates – it is nothing more than a tax on a tax;

Support the increased thresholds for rates rebate provisions to reduce pressure on low income ratepayers;

Require crown contributions in lieu of rates to compensate for foregone rating revenue on crown land;

Reduce the number of Territorial Authorities to no more four within each Regional Council boundary, with a nationwide maximum of no more than 40 in total by 2012;

Require the Ministry for the Environment to take a more active role in ensuring that Regional Councils perform their environmental monitoring and enforcement responsibilities under the Resource Management Act;

Conduct a biennial review of the Resource Management Act’s operation, and ensure that local authorities are given the necessary resources and administrative support to carry out their statutory role;

Align the electoral boundaries for all other elected bodies such as District Health Boards and Conservation Boards with those of Regional Councils;

Hold a referendum on extending the electoral term for local authorities to four years from 2010;

Collect EQC and fire levies as a component of property owner’s rates instead of their insurance premiums (to prevent ‘free riding’ on the system by the uninsured);

Assist poorer communities and local authorities with the improvement (or provision) of wastewater and sewerage treatment scheme facilities by expanding the Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme and increasing the maximum financial assistance rate to 80%of total cost;

Initiate a programme of citizenship and civics education in schools and communities to address low voter participation;

Provide support to the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs so it can continue addressing the local employment needs of youth.

ENDS

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