Ministers strong words to councils good news

Published: Mon 8 Dec 2008 01:19 PM
Media release 8th December 2008
Statement from David Thornton
Ministers strong words to councils good news for ratepayers.
The new Minister for Local Government is giving the lead, which many councils need, to bite the bullet on spending and to acknowledge that ratepayers pockets are not bottomless.
The ARC/David Beckham saga, coming so early in the new Minister’s term of office, is the perfect example to demonstrate that councils must either control their spending themselves or face the consequences from a Minister who seems clearly set on imposing restrictions from on high.
Councils must accept that they operate at the will of Parliament – and it is Parliament which gives councils the power to set rates.
What Parliament has given – Parliament can also take away.
The ‘hands-off’ approach, by central government towards local government, in recent years has left ratepayers at the mercy of local and regional councils.
There have been no checks and balances – just endless, usually meangless, consultation on annual plans and long-term plans.
This has created a deep-seated malaise in local government which may need drastic actions to cure.
There is plenty of work for the new government to do in the local government sector – and local councils must face up to their inadequacies or face the biggest shake up in 20 years.

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