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Wayne Brown Right To Call For Devolution Of Powers

Responding to Mayor Brown’s Auckland Manifesto, Taxpayers’ Union Policy Adviser, James Ross, said:

“Wayne Brown is on the right track calling for devolution of powers from central government to local communities, but we need to go further. New Zealand is one of the most centralised nations in the OECD, and the result is that local interests are run over roughshod by Wellington bureaucrats.

“Handing revenue-raising powers to local bodies has the potential to facilitate tax competition between local areas, ensuring that ratepayers get the most bang for their buck. However, given that Auckland Council covers a third of all Kiwis, for this to happen there is a clear need to go further and devolve powers to smaller local councils.

“Control over local assets such as roads would eliminate perverse situations such as Auckland Council being forced to pay $171 million over three years just to get access to the National Land Transport Fund, let alone the vast sums wasted in litigation battles just to lay some tarmac.

“Furthermore, GST sharing with local bodies would give councils an incentive to manage their areas profitably. With estimates of $60-70 Billion required to maintain existing infrastructure in Auckland alone, this would go a long way towards lighting a fire under stagnant Councils.”

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