Grey Power Cautiously Optimistic about Local Government Reform.
Grey Power local Government spokesperson Miles Jackson, says Grey Power welcomes yesterdays moves to introduce reform
plans for local bodies.
Grey Power has for sometime been concerned about councils spending outside their core responsibilities, such as roading,
water, drainage, libraries etc. as well as excessive salaries for some senior managers.
Let’s hope that the days of nice to have, but unaffordable projects, such as V8 car races, art galleries and sports
stadiums are over.
We believe one council in New Zealand is planning an Arts centre/ Museum which was originally expected to cost $9.4
million, but has now jumped a further $4 million; these sorts of projects require more robust cost scrutiny to ensure no
or minimal cost over-runs so that the extra costs do not fall on ratepayers. If a project is likely to bring business to
a district let business front with the monies.
The recent rugby world cup has left many local councils with huge interest bills on new stadiums. The new seasons’ Super
Rugby competition already illustrates that there is insufficient patronage to cover required overheads leaving
ratepayers to pick up the shortfall as the debacle in Dunedin clearly shows. Ratepayers have to contribute some $400,000
to cover the debt that the Dunedin City council forgave last week. It has been suggested that there may be a need for an
independent body to analyse whether rugby unions are about to become the next drain on the public purse in much the same
way finance companies were.
Another area of concern is the excessive amount spent on planning. One council in New Zealand is reported to have spent
22% of its budget this activity. One has to question what the use of a 10 year plan which very few read is.
Let’s hope that the Local Government reforms go some way to alleviating the concerns of many rate payers, particularly