Local government legislation needs to be sent back
15 November 2012
Local government legislation needs to be sent back to the drawing board
The Public Service Association is calling for legislation on the reform of local government to be scrapped and sent back to the drawing board.
The Local Government Act Amendment Bill is due to have its second reading this afternoon. It is returning to the House with no substantial change despite serious concerns raised by select committee submitters and deadlock among committee MPs.
PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says “the fact the vast majority of the almost 700 written and oral submissions voiced concern or opposition to the legislation, should not be ignored.”
“There were also some hard-hitting minority reports out of the select committee from Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party highlighting inherent problems with the legislation, not to mention criticism from councils around the country,” she says.
The PSA firmly believes the legislation outlines a raft of unnecessary reforms which will only serve to undermine local democracy and decision-making. It will also extend the government’s public service staffing cap ideology into local government and open the door up to more contracting out of council services and infrastructure.
Brenda Pilott says “it’s disappointing to see that those issues have not been addressed at all in the select committee report and that government MPs are pushing legislation through without taking on board or reflecting any of the concerns outlined in the submissions.”
“Not only does this legislation undermine local democracy, its journey through parliament is also proving to be undemocratic.”
“So many red flags have been raised about the Bill. It’s time for the government to acknowledge that and hit the pause button so councils, staff and communities don’t end up paying the price for ill-conceived reform,” she says.
The PSA is also once again urging the Maori Party and United Future to take a stand for local democracy and local communities by voting down the Bill in its current form.