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Local Government Legislation 25 years overdue

Local Government Legislation 25 years overdue

For immediate release on Thursday 21 November 2002

Local Government New Zealand Spokesperson Margaret Shields today encouraged the Government to pass the Local Government Bill before Christmas.

“It has taken almost three years of work and extensive consultation to get to this point. It is the first comprehensive review of local government law since 1974 and it is now time to get on with it,” said Ms Shields.

“The current Local Government Act is archaic and arcane, the public don’t understand it and it causes constant difficulties for local authorities. We need modern, sensible and understandable law.”

Ms Shields was reacting with concern to the campaign against the Bill launched yesterday by Bill English.

“Local government has been pressing for reform of the Local Government Act since 1996. The current Bill is the product of two rounds of public discussion and submissions as well as an extensive Select Committee process. There comes a time when you just need to get on and do things – it is now time to close this chapter, pass the Bill and get on with its implementation,” she said.

“The current law is so out of date it reads more like a list of radio call signals than an Act of Parliament. The section headings in the Act contain so many Z’s that it might just be asleep. The Act’s long list of things that Councils are specifically allowed to do is so dated that Councils keep having to front up to Parliament to get local legislation to do things that their community wants.”

“Why is it that a Council can build a town clock but it not allowed to repair it?” This gem from the current Act clearly demonstrates why it is necessary to ditch it and replace it with a modern and flexible approach, ” said Ms Shields.

Ms Shields expressed her hope that following the extensive process that had been undertaken the Government would now be able to bring it all together and encouraged the Government to use urgency to enact the Bill.

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