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Opposition against Local Government Bill Grows


Tide of Opposition against Local Government Bill Grows

Farmers have shown their anger about proposals to expand the powers of Local Government with an overwhelming response to the Local Government Forum's Stop the Local Government Bill petition, says Federated Farmers National Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

The Local Government Forum today presented a second instalment of its Stop the Local Government Bill petition to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, bringing the total number of signatures to 8,438.

"Farmers, urban based businesses and those on fixed incomes are all rightly concerned about the Bill's proposed Power of General Competence which will empower Councils to promote "social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being" without any definition of what this means.

"Our members are outraged by the Government's failure to involve those who pay the bills - the ratepayers, in the policy development process. The Minister's recent statement that the Bill is likely to pass without significant changes makes a mockery of the select committee process.

"The Federation is coming under increasing pressure to facilitate a rates revolt. In a recent Fencepost.com survey 83% of respondents indicated they would support withholding a portion of their rates. This would be a last-ditch bid to get Government to listen to farmer concerns, but we may have no other option.

"If Government is committed to economic growth they must undertake a first principles review of the functions, powers and funding of local authorities and fully involve those that foot the bill in the process."


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