Stronger accountability tools for local government will be needed if the Government succeeds in entrenching Māori wards, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “As more councils introduce Māori wards, a significant proportion of our local representatives will be accountable to just one segment of local of voters. This loss of accountability needs to be offset with new accountability tools.”
“An obvious example is recall elections: when a councillor breaks a promise or brings disgrace to their authority, voters shouldn’t have to wait until the next election to vote them out of office. Voters should be able to petition to recall a councillor. Under this model, as practiced in the UK and many parts of the United States and Canada, if the petition reaches a given threshold of signatures a recall election will be triggered for that ward.”
Last year the Taxpayers’ Union, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, and Northern Action Group jointly released a paper proposing recall elections. It is available at www.taxpayers.org.nz/recall_paper.