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Local Government Policy Direction Summary

Local Government Policy Direction Summary Document Released Today

The Minister of Local Government Hon Sandra Lee today released a Statement of Government policy direction for review of the Local Government Act 1974.

The summary document outlines some key issues the Labour-Alliance coalition is considering, to modernise and democratise the local government sector.

"We're looking to breathe new life into the main piece of legislation governing local bodies because the present Local Government Act is on its last legs," Ms Lee said.

"Ratepayers and residents should not be penalised just because their councils are currently not allowed to operate with sufficient flexibility to deal with modern issues in modern ways," she said.

"The Labour-Alliance coalition is also concerned to ensure that councils should be able to take into account a wider range of factors such as the social outcome of their decisions."

"We need a dynamic, sustainable economy based on partnership between government, local communities and the private sector," she said. "Our aim is a better quality of life and opportunities for all."

Ms Lee said the summary document was only an indication of the policy formation approach that the Government was currently taking in partnership with representatives of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM).

"We will carry out a formal public consultation process next year, once a more fully developed set of proposals has been drawn up, " she said.

"This is more of a summary of current thinking, so we can get some early feedback on our directions."

Ms Lee said the summary document set out the Labour-Alliance coalition's broad policy direction for the review of the Local Government Act.

The document proposed that the future purpose of local government be "to enable local decision-making by and on behalf of citizens in their local communities to promote their social, economic and environmental well-being in the present and for the future."

It also envisages a future legislative framework for local government that would allow councils greater flexibility but accompany that with rigorous transparency and accountability measures.

Ends

Extra copies of the summary document are available through the Department of Internal Affairs website http://www.dia.govt.nz
or through Pamela Fleming, Media Adviser DIA, 04 495 9436 or 025 575 676


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