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LGA Amendment Entirely too Timid


PRESS RELEASE

6 August 2012
LGA Amendment Entirely too Timid

As the Local Government Amendment Bill moves towards select committee Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig says National’s proposal is entirely too timid.

“The current solutions being put forward to address the problems we see within local government are merely window dressing, they may address some of the symptoms of the problem, but they do not deal with the cause,” Mr Craig says.

“The proposed amendment, while well intentioned, is utterly too timid, and I predict it will have little effect on the woeful state of local body finances,” he says.

“Balance sheet problems are widespread, and if interest rates rise, we will see many more ratepayers in crisis.”

“I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that the Conservative Party would significantly reduce local government bureaucracy. A set of nationwide standards on building, water, coast and environment is long overdue. For example, we currently have every local body doing its own thing for Tsunami planning. A centralised taskforce of experts could do a far better and cheaper job.”

“It’s high time we looked overseas to countries where local government functions very successfully. In Europe for example both Germany and Switzerland do very well. Local government is strong, efficient, and is in fact foundational to their economic success. You just need to look at house prices: Those countries have stable, consistent and affordable house prices – a far cry from what we have here.”

Some of the key recommendations from the Conservative Party’s submission include:

1. Reform of funding.
2. Improved democracy, including four year terms, and electronic voting.
3. Introduction of nationwide standards to avoid inefficiency, local vagaries, and self-interest.
4. Support for financial controls, such as a rates and borrowing cap.
5. Streamlining the RMA to work with nationwide standards.
ENDS


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