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Local Government Act Changes Silent On Treaty

Local Government Act Changes Silent On Treaty - Fitzsimons

16 July 2001

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today that the Local Government Act was well overdue for rewriting, but the Government's review of the act, released last month, failed to address the key issue of Treaty relationships at the local government level.

"If this is a fundamental rethink of the place and role of local government, and not just a consolidation of the old Act, a central question must be the relationship of local government to the Treaty but amazingly this has been left to deal with later," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Talking at the Local Government Conference today Ms Fitzsimons said that the disappointment with the document had led some of the Green members to ask that the Party would not vote for the introduction of the proposed legislation.

"The Treaty relationship needs to be part of the framework of the new Act, not an add on that is decided later. Local Government has been crying out for guidance on these issues for years. A 'Treaty clause' is not enough. It must be part of the architecture of the Act," she said.

"There is no analysis, guidance or leadership in the document to start the process of building a framework for Treaty relationships at the local government level.

"There are some hard questions that need to be asked - such as: what exactly is the Crown in relation to the Treaty? When central government devolves some parts of its governance, rule making and management of resources to local government, does it devolve those parts of the treaty relationship with them, and if not how is the relationship to be preserved in those things that are no longer done by central government," asked Ms Fitzsimons.

"I could understand it if those questions had not been finally answered in the document but I cannot understand that they were not even posed," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons said that in recent years local government had been treated increasingly as a business supplying goods and services to residents for a fee.

"It is good to see the purposes and principles proposed for this reform moving away from that and towards seeing local government as the way in which citizens collectively provide for those aspects of their social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing they can't provide individually," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Ends


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