Don’t trust National on local government policy

Published: Thu 30 Oct 2008 01:19 PM
Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Local Government spokesperson
MP for Tainui
29 October 2008 Media Statement
Don’t trust National on local government policy - Mahuta
“National cannot be trusted to allow iwi, hapu and local communities to have a say on big development projects affecting local areas” Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in response to National’s local government policy release
“National is talking about a 20-year infrastructure plan but is suspiciously silent on its plans to cut the public out of any input into proposed infrastructure projects in order to fast track them under the Resource Management Act” Nanaia Mahuta said
“Labour will not ride rough-shod over the rights of iwi, hapu and local communities to make submissions and be heard on matters of local interest. National’s plans to decimate the Resource Management Act will result in communities not having a say in what happens to their homes and environment.”
Nanaia Mahuta also rejected National’s claims of inadequate funding contributions from central government.
“Under Labour, government funding to local government over the last nine years has increased substantially and is the fastest growing source of council revenue.
“Between 1999 and 2008, funding of local government increased by 103 per cent from $390 million to $792 million, and we have built a strong partnership with local authorities.
Nanaia Mahuta said Labour has offered support on a targeted basis for:
• Sanitary Works Scheme to assist small to medium sized communities to build or upgrade their sewerage reticulation and treatment. Total funding allocated for that from 200w and including this year’s Budget is $173.3 million
• Drinking Water Assistance Programme established in 2005 to assist small disadvantaged communities improve their drinking water systems. $150 million has been base lined for this purpose over a 10-year period.
• Water and wastewater improvements have also been funded by the Tourism Demand Subsidy Scheme to support small communities with high visitor numbers
• A major one off investment in the clean up of Rotorua’s lakes with commitment of $72.1 million to meet half the project costs, to restore iconic lakes which are crucial to on of our major tourism regions.
• A small sustainable management fund supports local government organisations and local stakeholders taking practical initiatives which will produce long term environmental benefits.
• Investment in transport infrastructure – across roading, the rail network and public transport. Over nine Budgets, annual funding for roading has more than doubled from $850 million in 1999/2000 to over $1.9 billion this year. Our annual investment in public transport this year is over 15 times greater than that of 1999/2000.
• Working with local government partners on the walking and cycling infrastructure – that's an investment of $18 million this year alone – and supporting community based programmes like "walking school buses".
Nanaia Mahuta said John Carter was dragging up a tired complaint that central government was passing legislative costs to local authorities.
“This complaint has been exposed in the past as not borne out by the facts. The facts are many legislative requirements are either requested by local government (for example the Rates Rebate Amendment Act 2006) or have no impact on local government costs, (Land Transport (unauthorised street and drag racing) Amendment Act 2003) or are in response to significant public concerns (Dog Control Amendment Act 2003)
“These are just some of the examples of Labour working collaboratively with local government to ensure greater effectiveness in dealing with issues,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

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