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New Chair for Local Government Forum

5 November 2004

New Chair for Local Government Forum

Southland farmer Don Nicolson has been elected Chair of the Local Government Forum, a group of business organisations that have a vital interest in the activities of local government. The business community funds about 50% of local government's total rate revenue.

The Local Government Forum promotes financial policies that create a positive economic environment, and challenges the loading of excessive local government costs onto hardworking business owners. Members of the Forum include Business New Zealand, the New Zealand Business Roundtable, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and the New Zealand Forest Owners Association.

Mr Nicolson, also a Federated Farmers National Board member and Federated Farmers Southland President, takes over from former Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw.

"As a long term advocate of rate funding policy reform I am pleased to take on this role," says Mr Nicolson. "The Forum aims to reduce local government spending on frivolous activities, and promote the development of funding systems that do not discourage business growth.

"Businesses are increasingly disenfranchised in a system of local government characterised by rising expenditure and heavy compliance costs. As a business owner I urge the business community to pay attention to the activities of local councils and get involved in fighting the heavy compliance costs imposed by local government.

"I look forward to continuing the success of the Forum through campaigns such as the Hot Council awards, that hold local government to account," says Mr Nicolson. "When you look at the proposed rate take increases already signalled in council long term plans out to 2012 the business community should be very concerned about where this extra cash will come from."

ENDS


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