Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Warning on local government bill


Warning on local government bill

New legislation would mean weaker financial controls but vastly increased powers for local government. This was the message delivered to local government finance managers by Rob McLagan, chairman of the Local Government Forum*, today.

The Local Government Bill would remove the specific rules constraining councils to their core services, replacing them with a ‘power of general competence’, while requiring them to actively engage in ‘social, cultural and environmental’ activities. At the same time, financial controls would be weakened.

This could lead councils to overreach themselves in inappropriate activities at ratepayers’ expense, Mr McLagan warned.

“Apart from MMP, this is the largest constitutional change in the last few decades,” he said. “Regrettably, the most likely outcome from this Bill is an increase in rates.”

Mr McLagan said weakened financial provisions included:

No statutory requirement for councils to undertake economic analysis supporting financial decision-making.

It will be easier for local bodies to forecast operating deficits and borrow to fund current operating expenditure.

Council-controlled organisations will have diluted requirements to operate as successful businesses.

Financial accountability weakened by ‘must endeavour’ statements - councils will not have to ensure prudent stewardship of resources or undertake commercial transactions in accordance with sound business practice - under the Bill they merely have to ‘try’ to do so.

Projects will require consultation on social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts, but putting economic impact in the same category as the other three diminishes its restraining power – projects that are financially shaky but have social, cultural and environmental appeal will conceivably get through the consultation process, since they’ve scored three out of four.

Mr McLagan said the Local Government Forum favoured clear guidelines to ensure councils stick to their core business, rather than the wider ‘power of general competence’ approach.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Erebus Memorial In Parnell

Social media can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together in a common cause. It can also be a seedbed and spreader of mis-information on a community-wide scale. To which category do the protests against the siting of an Erebus memorial (to the 257 New Zealanders who died in that tragedy) in a secluded corner of a Parnell park happen to belong? IMO, it is clearly the latter, and the reasons for thinking so are explained below... More>>

 

National: Proposed Hate Speech Laws A Step Too Far

Reports of the Government’s proposed new hate speech laws go a step too far and risk sacrificing the freedoms New Zealanders enjoy, National’s Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges says. “The reforms are supposedly including protections to every ... More>>

ALSO:

Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>

ALSO:

Norman Gemmell: New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles

Norman Gemmell , Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Economists like to talk about “optimal policy instruments” — essentially, policies that achieve their objectives more effectively or efficiently than the alternatives, and ... More>>

Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>

ALSO:

Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels