Property industry supports overhaul of local government

Published: Mon 19 Mar 2012 05:20 PM
Property industry supports overhaul of local government
Property Council New Zealand today applauded Local Government Minister Nick Smith’s announcement to reform local government and stem unnecessary spending by territorial authorities.
The chief executive of Property Council, Connal Townsend said the Minister’s recommendations were in line with those outlined in Property Council’s policy manifesto, Fast-Forward to Growth, which was released earlier this month.
“We have long been calling for a restraint on local government spending for the benefit of New Zealand ratepayers and small businesses,” Townsend said. “There is an absolute need to hold down the cost of local government, which has spiralled out of control in recent years. The Minister has heeded Property Council’s call and we look forward to the introduction of legislation starting in May this year.”
Property Council’s manifesto recommended changes to achieve efficiency in the implementation of local government infrastructure and development contributions, he said.
“We are especially looking forward to the Government’s review of the application of development contributions following the Auditor General’s report on council’s long term plans later this year.
“Since the introduction of the Local Government Act 2002, development contributions have been stretching the waistline of local government, in the form of an unfair first home buyer’s tax on thousands of young New Zealanders. It’s time for accountability, transparency and fiscal discipline in local government.
“Councils need to get back to a core operating focus. We support legislative reforms that require councils to provide good quality services at minimal cost to their communities, and it certainly appears that the Government’s blueprint for local government reform will go some way towards achieving this.”

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