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LGNZ releases election manifesto

LGNZ releases election manifesto focusing on the need for strengthening New Zealand’s communities and economies

Today Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has launched its election manifesto which outlines policy positions to seek stronger communities and economic growth across all of New Zealand.

The LGNZ 2014 Manifesto highlights the strategic, legislative and regulatory issues where the sector believes improvements can be made to enhance local leadership, create stronger communities and enable local government to deliver to more effective and efficient services.

“The proposed measures are intended to grow LGNZ’s constructive relationship with central government and create a legislative, regulatory and policy environment that enables councils to make a difference in their communities and local economies,” LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says.

“Both central and local government must play their roles if we are to ensure New Zealand continues to have a robust local democratic framework. We look forward to working closely with the incoming government.”

The seven strategic policy areas are:

1. Governance and performance

“LGNZ is committed to raising the standard of governance and performance of local government. We welcome Government support for our programme of initiatives designed to lift the performance of the sector,” Mr Yule says.

2. Economic growth
“New Zealand’s economic growth strategy needs to consider the nation as a whole and the needs of its regions,” Mr Yule says. “We need to find ways to make our regional centres attractive for investment and for skilled migrants to settle. For this to occur, there needs to be a shared national strategy. LGNZ is alsoadvocating for the distribution of a share of royalties from mineral, oil and gas extraction to the communities where it takes place.”

3. Sustainable funding
“LGNZ seeks that the incoming government consider carefully the findings of the LGNZ Local Government Funding Review, which seeks to find a sustainable model for the future as demographic and economic factors continue to change ,” Mr Yule says. “As part of this we anticipate the Government will pay rates on Crown land.”

4. Infrastructure
Good quality infrastructure requires a long term commitment built on effective asset management planning and ongoing investment. “LGNZ asks that the incoming government ensure that the value of local and regional roads to the economic well-being of New Zealand, and the sustainability of road funding for regions, is recognised in the overall allocation of road and transport funding,” Mr Yule says. “We ask that it acknowledges local government’s leadership of strategy concerning potable water, wastewater and stormwater assets and services, with decisions about ownership and management belonging to communities. We seek to ensure that the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill reflects the different risk profiles of buildings and regions, and takes into account social and economic impacts alongside life safety.”

5. Regulation

“Both central and local government are fully committed to providing regulatory regimes that are effective and do not impose unnecessary costs on communities, so we need a strong relationship with policy setters,” Mr Yule says. LGNZ seeks that the incoming government implement the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s report Towards Better Local Regulations, particularly the development of a “partners in regulation” protocol and a forum to ensure both spheres of government agree and understand intended regulatory outcomes. LGNZ asks that a joint central local government task force be established to review the framework of statuses and regulations impacting on local authorities to remove unintended consequences and unnecessary regulatory costs. It also seeks an alternative to the “joint and several” framework for determining liability.

6. Environment
Local government is committed to finding the balance between protecting environmental values and amenities for future generations while also developing local economies. “LGNZ seeks that the incoming government involve councils in the development of policy and regulations as they affect resource management planning and the setting of priorities for ‘national direction’,” Mr Yules says. LGNZ asks the incoming government agree that locally elected representatives, in consultation with citizens, should remain the primary decision-makers on plans and policies under the Resource Management Act (RMA). LGNZ seeks that the “streamlining” introduced to allow for Special Housing Areas to other parts of the RMA and ensure that future reforms of the RMA are practical, workable, have clear aims and minimise costs to councils and citizens through speeding up planning and consenting without shifting liabilities to decision-makers.

7. Local democracy
“Local government is an important part of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements providing both local services on behalf of its communities and effective local democracy,” Mr Yule says. LGNZ seeks the incoming government implement the recommendations of the Online Voting Working Party established by the Minister of Local Government and provide funding to assist with the development of online voting and the promotion of triennial local authority elections.


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