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Local Government policy targets infrastructure

John Carter MP
National Party Local Government Spokesman

28 October 2008

Local Government policy targets infrastructure

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says the party’s Local Government policy is all about growth and reducing the burden of Wellington-based bureaucracy on ratepayers.

“Over the next decade, New Zealand will spend an estimated $60 billion on infrastructure. National is committed to large-scale investment to lift our economy and raise environmental standards. Ultimately, the costs of infrastructure investment will fall on New Zealanders as ratepayers, taxpayers, or users.

“National will work with local government to ensure costs are allocated fairly and efficiently, and to share responsibility for delivering value for money in public spending.”

National will:

• Involve local government in the preparation of a 20-year national infrastructure plan to set clear directions for vital infrastructure investment, including high-priority areas.

• Develop a common investment framework for infrastructure that spans central and local government and includes a range of financing tools.

• Reform the Resource Management Act to simplify and streamline consent processes because more infrastructure, plus a more efficient approvals process, will give Local Government better results for their money.

Mr Carter says councils now have new obligations in areas as diverse as gambling, prostitution, and dog control. These new responsibilities have involved extra costs on councils and, therefore, on ratepayers which have not always been adequately funded by the Labour Government.

“Hamilton City Council has identified at least 60 pieces of legislation passed by Labour that have imposed additional costs on ratepayers. Wanganui District Council has estimated these cost their ratepayers the equivalent of a 6% increase in rates per year.”

National will review the legislative burden imposed on local authorities to see what is needed and effective, and to ensure that costs fall appropriately. National will not commit to new legislation which impacts on ratepayers without talking to local government.

National will:

• Review the legislation that central government imposes on local government and ensure that the costs fall appropriately.

• Amend the Building Act to reduce building compliance issues. See our policy on Building and Construction for more details.

• Reform the RMA to simplify and streamline consent processes and reduce delays, uncertainties, and costs. See our policy on Resource Management for more details.

National believes that current local government structures and relationships in Auckland act as a barrier to development and the delivery of cost-efficient services.

“If we are serious about Auckland being a world-class city that competes with Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane then it needs to have high-class regional infrastructure which makes the most effective use of regional assets.

“We cannot avoid addressing this issue. Economic development in Auckland is crucial to New Zealand’s future growth,” Mr Carter says.

“Local government reform in Auckland should focus on whether there is good regional infrastructure, sound and consistent regulation, and economic growth throughout the region, as well as making sure each community in our biggest city feels appropriately represented.

“A National Government will work through these issues with local government to find a solution that will benefit both Auckland and ultimately the rest of New Zealand.”

National will:

• Support the Royal Commission providing an opportunity for people within the Auckland region to express their views about the structures that will best achieve the goals set out above.

• Consult with Aucklanders once the findings of the commission are known.

• Implement changes that will best achieve the goals of good regional infrastructure, sound and consistent regulation, and economic growth.

ENDS

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