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Government accreditation programme fees too high

Government accreditation programme fees too high says Local Government New Zealand

12 October 2006

Local Government New Zealand is questioning the proposed fees of a compulsory accreditation programme for council building consent functions announced by the Minister of Building Issues today. The cost for local government is estimated at $2.3 million by November 2007 and $1.8 million every two years after that.

The Government has allocated $3million to assist regional councils and territorial authorities to prepare for accreditation. This funding will be available for training, support and advice.

Basil Morrison, President of Local Government New Zealand, congratulates the Government in recognising and contributing the funding to assist with the investment councils are making in enhancing the capability in building services.

“There is value and benefit in having an accreditation programme and a common standard to assist with consistency of building services across the sector. However, I am concerned about the extra expense that will be imposed on councils through the accreditation process which the Government proposes to operate on a full cost recovery basis.”

“We are not disputing the value of a programme like this but we are questioning the costs associated with it and why these costs should fall on councils and ultimately, ratepayers and residents.

“Councils will have to determine how these costs will be passed onto consumers, whether that is shared amongst all ratepayers or whether it is born solely by building consent applicants. The approach to charging councils suggests that councils gain all of the benefits. As part of a comprehensive new building regime, a fairer system would be to share the costs across all sectors who will benefit – councils, industry, consumers, and of course the public represented by the Government,” says Mr Morrison.

Local Government New Zealand will be preparing a sector response on the proposal and expects strong interest from councils on the issue.

ENDS

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