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Better local government reforms announced

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister of Local Government

19 March 2012
Media Statement

Better local government reforms announced

The ‘Better Local Government’ reforms announced today by Prime Minister John Key will provide clarity around the role of councils, stronger governance, improved efficiency and more responsible financial management said Local Government Minister Nick Smith.

“These reforms are part of the Government’s broader programme for building a more productive, competitive economy and better public services,” Dr Smith says.

“The reforms will help keep rates affordable and debt at prudent levels by focusing councils on their core roles, setting clear fiscal responsibility requirements and giving councils more tools to better manage costs. The package rebalances the changes made in 2002 that have seen average rates increase by 7 percent per annum and council debt quadruple from $2 billion to
$8 billion.”

“The ‘Better Local Government’ reforms include eight specific initiatives; the first four will be introduced to Parliament in May and be passed in September. They will refocus the purpose of local government, introduce fiscal responsibility requirements, strengthen council governance provisions and streamline council reorganisation procedures.”

“The balance of the reforms which include; a local government efficiency taskforce, a framework around local and central government regulatory roles, an investigation into efficient infrastructure provision and review of Development Contributions, will be undertaken in consultation with Local Government New Zealand. These work streams will also link with the Productivity Commission’s investigation on regulatory roles between central and local government and the Auditor General’s inquiries into Development Contributions. This work will feed into a second reform bill proposed for 2013.”

“I look forward this week to meeting with the Mayors and Chief Executives from New Zealand’s 78 councils in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to advance these reforms. We want to work with local government in these challenging financial times to deliver efficient and affordable council services for New Zealand,” Dr Smith said.

Better Local Govt pdf file

ENDS

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