INDEPENDENT NEWS

Take another look at Local Govt bill

Published: Thu 28 Nov 2002 09:26 AM
“Take Another Good Hard Look At The Local Government Bill” Say Chambers
“We join with other business organizations in urging the Government to take another good hard look at its Local Government Bill, instead of pushing it through Parliament unchanged prior to Christmas” says Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Michael Barnett.
“Chambers have been saying the same things about this Bill ever since the Government’s consultation document was released in May 2001. We’ve put in submissions, lobbied Ministers and MPs, appeared before the Select Committee, and generally done our best to spotlight the pitfalls for business”
“Of course the Local Government legislation needs updating – but Chambers nationwide think that the Bill’s new “power of general competence” sends us in the wrong direction.
“We’ve listened to the justifications for this change, but are still wary that it could turn into a “power of general incompetence” instead.
“By this we mean that the new legislation is too permissive for local authorities. It will provide them with too much leeway to use ratepayers money in setting up ill-considered commercial enterprises that could end up competing with our private sector members.
“Likewise, we’re aghast at the intended removal of local body voting rights for commercial ratepayers who are non-resident. As we have said before, this is nothing but taxation without representation – the same thing that the American colonists rebelled against a couple of centuries ago!
“As Chambers of Commerce, we’re in favour of the concept of partnership provided this does not run to crowding out of businesses by an unnecessarily large local government sector.
“New Zealand will never sustain a 4% annual growth performance if public spending grows at a similar rate. So once again, we urge Government to listen carefully and moderate the Bill accordingly” concluded Mr Barnett.

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