Bill to change Local Government Act spells disaster for
A new bill to amend the Local Government Act should alarm all New Zealand ratepayers as it would remove the last remaining fiscal restraint on Council spending, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
The relevant proposed law change is as follows:
10 Purpose of local
(1) The purpose of local government is—
(a) to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
(b) to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.
(b) to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities in the present and for the future.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “The proposed changes replace a clear requirement for councils to be ‘cost effective’ with a vague suggestion that councils promote ‘well-being of communities’.”
“In effect, this change lets councils off the leash. It’s financially terrifying.”
“Local Government New Zealand – the ratepayer-funded lobby for councils – is excited about this change because it gives councils free reign to act without regard for fiscal responsibility. For example, councils could hike salaries without increasing output, or they could spend ratepayer money on ‘cultural’ investment without budget constraints, and no need for any consideration of costs versus benefits.”
“Councils already waste our money as it is. The last thing councils need is more license to pursue wishy-washy whims on the ratepayer’s dollar.”