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Legislative Reform Newsletter No 2

Legislative Reform Newsletter No 2

Policy Development In Full Swing

The Department of Internal Affairs and Local Government New Zealand are in top gear in the policy development phase of the legislative review. In the next 6-8 weeks Cabinet will consider a suite of up to 17 papers on various aspects of the Local Government Act, and a fewer but still significant number of papers on the funding powers review.

The decisions that Cabinet makes on these papers will form the basis of:

„h A Discussion Document on proposals for reform of the Local Government Act (timetabled for June)

„h the Funding Powers Bill (timetabled for introduction into Parliament in June)

The time for submissions on the Local Government Act Review is planned to allow 2-3 months for consultation. While there will be no formal round of consultation on the Funding Powers Review before it is introduced to the House, the Local Government Act consultation round will provide the opportunity for this to be fully discussed. We would strongly advise those organisations with an interest in local government, not to wait for publication but to start your thinking on the key issues now.

Electoral Reform ¡V LEAPing Ahead

Submissions to the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Local Electoral
Bill close on 26 February. To facilitate the making of submissions, SOLGM
organised a sector forum on the Bill in Wellington on 8 and 9 February.
The Department of Internal Affairs presented an overview of the Bill at the
forum and also outlined a proposed structure for regulations which are
required to accompany the Bill. The Hon Margaret Shields also presented a summary of the Local Government New Zealand submission on the Bill.

The Department is now working closely with the SOLGM Electoral Working Party and Local Government New Zealand on the content of the regulations. Codes of practice will also be developed by SOLGM to provide good practice guides for local authority electoral officers to ensure compliance with the new Act and regulations.

The current timetable is for the Bill to be enacted by the end of May and for regulations to be promulgated by the end of June. Before finalising the regulations and codes of practice SOLGM will consult with electoral officers at a Forum to be held on 7 June.

Getting into the detail¡K

Global M is an independent research organisation that commissioned a survey of elected members and officials of councils regarding their opinion on changes to the Local Government Act. They are about to publish the results of their first survey on the review ¡V copies of which can be obtained from tom@global-m.co.nz or by phoning Tom Reicha on 09 449 2544.

Even though Global M has no official link to the legislative reviews the information they are gathering is very interesting and provides some useful discussion points. For example¡K.

Respondents to the first survey (about half the total councils in New Zealand) thought that the most important issue for review is the ¡¥functions of local authorities¡¦ ¡V around 70 percent of you listed this as one of your top three priorities. ¡¥Functions¡¦ also features heavily in the third priority issue ¡V the roles of regional and district councils. Second priority was given to accountability.

More than 90 percent of those surveyed indicated agreement with the statements made about the nature and role of local government, and with the principles for local government. This is helpful feedback on the Statement of Policy Direction and indicated that believe that the review has the right end objectives.

Around 80 percent of respondents indicated that local government should not have a role in ¡§social policy¡¨ agreeing with statements that local government should not have a direct role in income transfers or fund core social services.

More updates soon

We will continue to send you these regular updates about the progress of the legislative reform of local government. Please let us know what further information you would like to see in these newsletters.

Contact people are:

Elizabeth Hughes, Strategy Leader, Communication
Local Government New Zealand

E-mail: elizabethh@lgnz.co.nz
Phone: 04-470 0000
DDI: 04-470 0008
Fax: 04-470 0001
Address: PO Box 1214, Wellington

Department of Internal Affairs:
Address: PO Box 805, Wellington
Website: www.dia.govt.nz
Phone: 04 495 7200
Fax: 04 495 7270

Rosalind Plimmer, Manager Local Government Policy
E-mail: rosalind.plimmer@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 494 0532

David Aitchison,
E-mail: david.aitchison@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 494 0511

Gavin Beattie
E-mail: gavin.beattie@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 495 9385

Mark Dacombe
E-mail: mark.dacombe@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 495 7263

Fiona Illingsworth
E-mail: fiona.illingsworth@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 495 9384

Don Mackay
E-mail: don.mackay@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 495 7276

Robert McShane
E-mail: robert.mcshane@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 494 0572

Anthony Richards
E-mail: anthony.richards@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 495 9475

John Sutton
E-mail: john.sutton@dia.govt.nz
DDI: 04 494 0648

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