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LGNZ: Amendment Bill unlikely to achieve Govt’s objectives

28 November 2012

LGNZ: Amendment Bill unlikely to achieve Government’s objectives

Local Government New Zealand’s President, Lawrence Yule, said today the passage of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill into law is unlikely to fully achieve the Government’s objectives.

In its drive to have councils move their focus away from the four well-beings, the Government has instead injected uncertainty into the law by increasing the scope for council decisions to be judicially reviewed.

A number of councils have already been warned by external parties that they will use the new purpose clause in the legislation to challenge council decisions.

“Although LGNZ and the Government had agreed to disagree on the retention of the four well-beings, our members had hoped that the wording adopted by the Government in the new purpose clause would limit the opportunity for judicial review. LGNZ had provided draft wording to achieve this. Unfortunately the Government chose not to adopt that wording,” Mr Yule said.

The costs associated with judicial reviews will fall to ratepayers to meet but accountability for such outcomes will rest with the Government.

“The lesson from this legislation is that processes that are not based on facts, principle and constructive dialogue between central and local government do not serve the public well.

“Looking forward, a more engaged discussion between central and local government is required if the country is to prosper.”

ENDS

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