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Local govt law in for overhaul

Labour
2000 web siteA major overhaul of antiquated local government legislation spearheads Labour's local government policy announced today.

Labour local government spokesperson Judith Tizard said the legislation had not changed significantly for more than 25 years and Labour would ensure that it was brought up to date.

"Local government legislation would fill several provincial telephone books and most of it is archaic and unnecessary dribble," Judith Tizard said.

"For example the legislation says that 'local government may operate swimming pools'. Of course local government should be able to operate swimming pools if there is a community need and desire. It should not need an Act of Parliament to do so.

"There are essential services which legislation should decree that local government needs to supply to their communities, such as access to clean water at a reasonable cost. The legislation should also set out the process by which local government authorities are selected and the process by which they make decisions and consult with their communities. After that, they should be left to get on with the job and to provide their communities with the services and leadership their communities want them to provide.

"The sheer volume of the legislation has been used by some conservative local politicians and bodies as an excuse for not being more proactive in their communities.

"But a Labour Government will signal a new beginning for local government. Labour will strengthen their powers and give local government proper opportunity to be truly representative of their communities. We will encourage local authorities to be innovative in service delivery.

"We are also proposing some amendments to the Resource Management Act although wholesale revision is definitely not a requirement. However, we do have concerns about cost and delay, and inconsistent application of the Act.

"These issues have arisen primarily because the Act has been poorly implemented and monitored by the National Government since its enactment. In particular, National has failed to develop national policy statements and environmental standards, which would have provided guidance, strategy and consistency," Judith Tizard said.

Judith Tizard said that as an Auckland MP, she was particularly pleased with Labour's commitment to working with local government in Auckland to tackle the region's congestion problems.

"We see public transport as an issue which local and central government need to work together on, especially in Auckland. Labour will work with local government in Auckland to provide and fund further public transport and investigate methods of congestion pricing," Judith Tizard said.

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