Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Local Authority Stats Confirm Need for Reform

14 March 2012

Local Authority Stats Confirm Need for Reform

Continuing increases in local authority rates confirm the need for substantial reform of local government, according to Michael Barnett, Chairman of the Local Government Forum.

Statistics New Zealand’s latest quarterly statistics on local authority finances shows that rates revenue increased 8.7 percent when comparing December 2011 to December 2010. This large annual increase compares to a 1.8 percent increase in the consumer price index over the same period.

“Although it’s good to see that local authority operating spending fell slightly in the December 2011 quarter, much more of this is needed to unwind the near doubling of spending since 2002” said Mr. Barnett.

“Meanwhile rates are continuing to grow apace and this adds to the case for the Government to take decisive action to help councils better control their spending, debt and rates.

Meanwhile, Mr. Barnett is also congratulating Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker for supporting reform of local government and for saying that it is ‘well and truly overdue’.

“Julie Hardaker’s opinion piece in the 12 March New Zealand Herald acknowledges that councils have struggled to tighten their belts and that some of the public criticism of councils is ‘valid’. She also makes an equally valid point that the public has ‘extravagant expectations’ of their councils.

“Mayor Hardaker correctly identifies the problem with the Local Government Act’s very broad purpose statement and I agree with her plea for the Government to give councils need clarity on what they should and should not be doing.

“I also agree with her that issues around funding tools, planning processes, and the merits of amalgamations need to be considered. Hopefully the Minister of Local Government has these in his sights but the reality is that debt and rates have gone up because spending has spiraled upwards due to the Act’s purpose statement, a general inability for councils to ‘say no’ to ‘dreams and schemes’, and a lack of control in their wage bills.

“The spending-debt-rates spiral must be arrested and it is great that the Minister of Local Government seems so focused on this problem”, said Mr. Barnett.

About The Local Government Forum

The Local Government Forum comprises organisations that have a vital interest in the activities of local government. Its members include Business New Zealand, the Electricity Networks Association, Federated Farmers of New Zealand, New Zealand Business Roundtable, New Zealand Chambers of Commerce, and New Zealand Retailers’ Association. The Forum was established in 1994 to promote greater efficiency in local government and to contribute to debate on policy issues affecting it.

Forum members are each significant representatives of ratepayers in their own right but the Forum’s perspective is to advance community welfare through the advocacy of sound public policy. We believe that local government can best serve the interests of the community and ratepayers by focusing on the efficient provision of public goods at a local level.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On First Time Voting (Greens)

For the last two days, I’ve turned my column over to a couple of guest columnists who are first time voters. They’ve been asked to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music. Today’s guest columnist is Ana Avia-O’Connor, who will be casting her first time vote on Saturday for the Greens.

If I didn’t know any better, it would seem the world has conspired for me to be a Green Party voter. Parents, Green voters? Check. Participation in bilingual education that stressed the importance of inquiry, solidarity and the Treaty? Check. Some sort of vegetarian leanings (seven years and counting, jus’ sayin’)? Check. However, above all of that, I’m voting Green because I believe in supporting the importance of every New Zealander’s contribution to Aotearoa, from the hairdresser in Foxton to the fisherman in Bluff. You could say that I like the cut of the Greens’ jib. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Big March: Call For An End To Domestic Violence

Hundreds of protesters marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament Monday calling for an end to domestic violence. Wearing white facemasks, waving banners and calling for “safety” for the women and children of New Zealand.. More>>

ALSO:

Meddling: Aussie Liberals Embroiled In Key Campaign

John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says. More>>

ALSO:

SURVEILLANCE:

Election Ad Soundtrack: Rapper Eminem Sues National Party Over Copyright Breach

US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper’s ‘Lose Yourself’ song in an election campaign advertisement. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Election Chartering: Four New Partnership Schools To Open

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced the Government has signed contracts to open four new Partnership Schools in 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf 50 Out Now - The Election Issue: Loss Leaders

Gordon Campbell: A third term requires a mature decision, with eyes wide open. It calls for a conscious vote of confidence… Without trying hard here are about 19 reasons, in no particular order, for not ticking ‘party vote’ National. More>>

ALSO:

Not-Especially New Plans: All Prisons To Become Working Prisons Under National

All public prisons in New Zealand will become full working prisons by 2017, and ex-prisoners will receive post-release drug addiction treatment if National is returned to government, says Corrections Spokesperson Anne Tolley. More>>

ALSO:

Māngere: "False Claim Of Matai Title" - Labour

National must explain why its candidate for Māngere Misa Fia Turner appears to be using a Matai title she is not entitled to, Labour’s MP for Māngere and Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. A Matai title is a legally-recognised ... More>>

ALSO:

CPAG Report: No New Zealand Child Should Grow Up In Poverty

Child Poverty Action Group's flagship policy publication Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy calls for cross party political agreement to underpin an action plan to eliminate child poverty in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On National’s Phantom Tax Cut Package

Hmmm. So National’s tax cuts package turns out to be one of those television advertisements that screams a headline promise – perfect skin! a youth tonic that works! – while in very small print there’s an out clause: special conditions may apply. More>>

ALSO:

Water: New Marine Reserves On West Coast Opened

Five new marine reserves were officially opened by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith on the West Coast of the South Island to protect a range of marine ecosystems for conservation, science and recreation. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news