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


Call to get on with inquiry on local government funding

Call to get on with inquiry on local government funding

Farmers and councils are often at loggerheads over planning and rates issues but on the need for alternative funding mechanisms for local government, they’re on the same song sheet.

The Labour and NZ First’s coalition agreement includes a pledge to hold a public inquiry to investigate the drivers of local government costs and its revenue base.

"That can’t happen soon enough," Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says.

Analysis included in the 2017 Rates Report sent to members last week shows a continuing trend of local government rates rapidly outstripping inflation. From 2007-2017, the consumers’ price index went up 21%. The local government cost index - which councils say is a fairer reflection of their costs pressures - went up 29%.

But both are dwarfed by the 71% hike in local authority rates and charges. (The population in the same decade went up 13%, and while that’s more infrastructure and services to provide, it’s also more people to share the rates burden.)

"For farmers, rates continue to head moon-wards, with static or declining service levels on local roads and little else of value to report," Katie said.

The briefing to incoming Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta earlier this month acknowledges the problem, noting that continuing rates increases may challenge the future affordability of council rates for households.

Rates based on land and improvement values can have little or no bearing on the level of services that councils deliver to farmers, Katie said. While that can also be true for urban folk "at least they’re getting things like sewerage, water and rubbish collection, which many farms don’t".

The Federation welcomed the $25 million a year Tourism Infrastructure Fund that the National government earmarked for local authorities - many of them smaller, provincial councils - to help to pay for carparks, toilets and wastewater upgrades to cope with seasonal tourist influxes.

But with added demands on local government, including billions of dollars to fix water and wastewater infrastructure, new mechanisms, such as GST sharing, need to be looked at.

It’s 10 years since the Shand Report on financing local government costs was tabled, and more or less ignored by subsequent governments. "We need to debate these issues, and we urge the Government to make its public enquiry a priority," Katie said.

Meantime, next year regional and district councils will be consulting on their Long-Term Plans. "Federated Farmers will, as always, be loud in condemnation of any council budgets which show scant evidence of restraint or acknowledgement that the money comes from the pockets of hard-working New Zealanders."

Federated Farmers 2017 Rates Report: http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/FFPublic/Policy2/National/2017/Rates_Report_2017.aspx

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: Building a Community Newsroom

The “Scoop 3.0” Transition Plan
There is good reason to believe that a new path and a better future is possible for Scoop in 2019 as a pioneering independent Media company. A combination of new technology, ideas, institutions and business models and a renewed energy and commitment by the Scoop team, means Scoop aims to be at the forefront of the development of this renaissance that we term ‘News 3.0’.

By opening up Scoop’s structure to community ownership and exploring decentralised technology through the blockchain we can ensure the public has a stake in this enterprise and a say in its development. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Jami-Lee Ross (And The New Hobbit Law)

Clearly, Jami-Lee Ross is not waging a normal form of political warfare, with agreed rules of combat and rational cost/benefit calculations.

This is politics-as-terrorism where everything is being sacrificed by the man in the bomb vest in order to remove Simon Bridges as the leader of the National Party. More>>

Text Messages Released: National On $100,000 Donation(s)
The Botany Electorate of the National Party received 8 donations, and Mr Ross declared 8 donations to us. More>>


Film Industry Working Group:

Three Killed: DOC Supporting Family, Colleagues After Helicopter Crash

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is rallying around family and colleagues of the staff who died in a helicopter crash this morning in Wanaka... The helicopter, with two DOC staff on board, was on its way to undertake tahr control in the Haast area when it crashed. More>>


Political Donations: Greens Call For Tighter Anonymity Rules And Public Funding

“It is clear that those vested interests have a tangible influence on the decision making of political parties. This is a threat to democracy and should change.” More>>


Education Amendment Bill Passes: Urgency Sought For Partnership School Treaty Claim

The claim takes issue with the acts and omissions of the Crown in respect of the closure of Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua. More>>


Salvation Army Paper: Call For Public Housing Investment

To meet these future demands the report suggests the government needs to look beyond the private rental market and begin to invest heavily into home-ownership programmes and more public and social housing. More>>


Cull: Himalayan Tahr Control Operation Proceeding

“The target of controlling 10,000 Himalayan tahr over the next eight months remains. The revised plan provides for a staged control operation with increased reporting to the Tahr Liaison Group...” More>>


Health: Petitions To Fund Breast Cancer Drugs

Women marching to Parliament today, to present two petitions calling for Government funding of vital medicines, have 100% support from a coalition representing than 30 breast cancer organisations. More>>


Animal Welfare Advisory Committee: Report On Rodeo Practices Released

The independent committee that advises the Minister responsible for Animal Welfare, has today released a report on animal welfare in rodeos, together with advice to the Minister making recommendations to improve the welfare of the animals in rodeos. More>>





InfoPages News Channels