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Ombudsman needed to control TLAs – MANZ

23 October 2013

Ombudsman needed to control TLAs – MANZ

A new ombudsman needs to be created to regulate territorial local authorities in New Zealand and prevent the price gouging of small businesses which are powerless to resist, the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) says.

The 2013 local body elections showed just how disengaged the New Zealand public are with territorial local authorities and it is unrealistic to expect the three-yearly electoral cycle will do anything to curb the monopolistic pricing behaviour of many councils, MANZ Chief Executive Michael Baines says.

“The government needs to set up an ombudsman for businesses to be able to challenge council actions and pricing where it is unreasonable,” Mr Baines says.

Councils in New Zealand are monopolies, Mr Baines says. In the commercial sector, companies that operate in a monopoly situation are carefully monitored, with the Commerce Commission having the power to step in when such power is abused.

“What we’ve seen in the past few years is an unrealistic hike in the cost of compliance from councils across New Zealand. It’s even more galling that many of them are doing this to try and recover from financially from pursuing expensive pet projects.”

“They behave like this because they know they can get away with it. For the one-third of people that bother to vote, their interest is usually solely on trying to get their residential rates bill lowered. Trying to turn council compliance costs into an election issue is simply unrealistic.”

“Councils need to be answerable to more than just an indifferent voting public every three years. We need an independent authority to ensure that their actions can be scrutinised and justified, or else we will see them continue to gouge small businesses across the country,” Mr Baines says.


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