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Brash: Crisis of confidence looms in local govt.

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

18 July 2006

Brash: Crisis of confidence looms in local government

National Party Leader Don Brash has warned that New Zealand is currently on the brink of a “crisis of confidence” in local government, and he says the blame lies squarely with the Labour-led Government.

In a speech this afternoon to the Local Government NZ annual conference, Dr Brash delivered a blunt message on behalf of ratepayers: stand up for yourselves.

“Do not allow yourselves to be meekly steamrollered by Labour’s legislative juggernaut. You can’t let central government continue with bureaucratic buck-passing. You must tell Labour that your ratepayers simply will not accept any more unnecessary costs being loaded onto them.”

He says rate rises averaging 43% over the past six years, and forecasts of greater increases ahead, have caused such public disquiet that local body rating and performance has become one of the hottest topics in recent months.

“The Labour Government has made a great show of giving local government its wings with the so-called power of general competence. But they’ve given with one hand and taken away with the other.

“Local government in New Zealand today reminds me of frustrated middle management. It works hard to lead in its area, but is beset by constant demands from above. It’s hard to lead when you’re knee deep in form-filling and administration prescribed by the lady in the big chair upstairs.

“Many of the 60 recent pieces of legislation affecting local government that Labour has generated have obliged local authorities to adopt a more interfering and meddlesome kind of leadership. And that has to be very bad news.

“And because most councils are so worn out and broke from all the tasks Wellington has imposed on them, they’ve got little time or money left with which to lift their horizons.”

Dr Brash says National is committed to restoring sustainability in local government.

“We are determined to wind back the unnecessary legislative demands imposed by the Labour-led Government in order to give councils a realistic chance of keeping their rates under control.”


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