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

 

Living Wage Litigation

LIVING WAGE LITIGATION – A NEW ERA IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OR A DEAD END?

Wellington Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the New Zealand Taxpayers Union, has issued a judicial review of the decision by Wellington City Council to require its independent contractors to pay their employees the “living wage”. The Chamber is asking the High Court to rule on whether the Council’s decision represents an efficient, effective and appropriate use of ratepayers’ money for the purposes of the Local Government Act 2002 (the cost is estimated at $1.7 million over 7 years).

The Chamber’s case attempts to break new ground by inviting the High Court to assume the role of financial controller for local authority spending. In the past, the courts have been reluctant to undertake reviews which challenge the merits of decisions made by councils. In 1996, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Courts should defer to elected council members on matters of policy “except in clear and extreme cases”.

Nick Russell, Chen Palmer Litigation Partner, said “The law governing local councils has changed since then, and the Court will need to decide whether that principle still applies to decisions made in 2015. Ultimately, the Chamber is asking the Court to rule on whether spending decisions made by democratically elected councils should be subject to judicial oversight, in addition to the democratic accountability provided by local elections.”

“If the Court upholds the Chamber’s claim it will have extremely far reaching consequences for local government in New Zealand, as it has the potential to open up a wide range of spending decisions to scrutiny in the High Court. It would provide disgruntled ratepayers with a powerful new weapon to hold councils to account, but it would also risk making local government decision-making slower and more expensive – a cost ultimately borne by ratepayers. The Court will have to grapple with these implications in deciding whether the final word on the matter rests with the judiciary or the voters of Wellington,” said Mr Russell.

Chen Palmer specialises in advising on public law litigation and public policy.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

 
 

PM's Press Conference: Two More Troops?

Prime Minister Bill English gave a summary his highlights of last week’s budget announcement... The Prime minister was asked about NATO’s request for New Zealand to send two more personnel to Afghanistan and whether or not we will send them. More>>

ALSO:

Carer Settlement: Threat Of Staff Exodus In Mental Health

As a result of the recent pay rise awarded to their aged care and disability sector colleagues, many staff in non-government mental health and addiction organisations are considering leaving to join these workforces. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Policy: New Zealand Set To Blow Its Carbon Budget By 27%

The Government’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows New Zealand is set to release 647.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions between 2013 and 2020 – 137 million tonnes more than we are allowed under the Kyoto Protocol. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Christchurch Considers Cathedral, Stadium: Cathedral Working Group Report Released

“About half of Christchurch wants to see the cathedral reinstated, the other half wants something new and more modern, but really, everyone just needs a decision." More>>

ALSO:

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election