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Local infrastructure key to economic planning

Local infrastructure key to economic planning

For immediate release on

3 November 2008

"We support any measures from the incoming Government to stimulate the economy via maintaining and increasing investments in infrastructure, Local Government New Zealand President Lawrence Yule said today.

"Councils need to balance concern for ratepayers' ability to pay with the need to maintain core activities and the contribution of public works to the strength of local economies. Infrastructure developments are essential for communities and if stopped, they can have a negative impact on local economies, and subsequently the country as a whole.

"What we need to do is stimulate economic growth by continuing these investments and bringing forward projects, with the assistance of central government funding.

"Local government is a key partner in any future discussion of New Zealand's infrastructure needs. We welcome any commitments to investing in infrastructure and working with the new Government to pursue these issues on behalf of our members.

"Councils are currently carrying out planning for their 2009-19 Long Term Council Community Plans (LTCCPs). Within these plans are a range of infrastructure investments of national interest led by local government including water, wastewater, broadband, tourism, roading and transport activities.

"This council planning will detail key projects and what stage they are at. These details will include: if they have gone through regulatory processes; whether they require a local share component and if so, how this will be funded; and finally, how they fit with a national objective or legislative standard? This information will assist the new Government to target any additional funding to those projects which are ready to start.

"Transport is one area where additional funding can make a huge difference to local economies. We support any increases to the Financial Assistance Rate given from central government to councils. An increase will provide a more equitable arrangement for funding between central government and local government. It will particularly benefit those councils who have a heavy reliance on transport funding and a smaller ratepayer base", said Mr Yule.

Note: Local Government New Zealand's full election manifesto The Spirit of Partnership Consult. Fund. Collaborate is available from www.lgnz.co.nz

ENDS

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