INDEPENDENT NEWS

Business applauds calls for delay

Published: Wed 20 Nov 2002 09:12 AM
Business applauds calls for delay
The business sector will fully support a review of the Local Government Bill, says Rob McLagan, chair of the Local Government Forum.
"Ratepayers need to come to grips with the serious cost implications which will result if it becomes law in its present form," he says.
"The Bill as it stands is an illogical mishmash of greater freedoms and at the same time greater constraints on local government.
"The inevitable outcome will be higher costs as small special interest groups push for their own pet projects to be paid for by all ratepayers.
"The extra costs will be a disincentive for businesses to invest in New Zealand. As a result, it will be that much harder for New Zealand to get back into the top half of the OECD."
Because the Bill has not been based on sound principles, Mr McLagan says local government will be expected to fund a range of activities currently paid for by central government.
"There are no guarantees that, as local government picks up the social and cultural costs currently met by central government, there will be any corresponding reduction in government taxes," he says.
"The public and the business sector who will pay the costs of this ill-considered legislation now need to have the chance to understand and comment on its far-reaching implications. The Bill needs to be deferred to allow this to happen.
"For the government to do otherwise would demonstrate a high level of disdain for the views of the public."

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