Review an opportunity to strengthen local govt

A review of local government is timely and necessary but it must not become the latest plank in the Labour Government’s centralisation agenda, National’s Local Government spokesperson Christopher Luxon says.

“National supports the Future of Local Government review announced today.

“The framework of considering what local government does, how it does it, and how it is financed is a good step.

“But it’s a lost opportunity that the panel has no real-world property development, business or primary industry experience.

“Councils have an important part to play in meeting some of our biggest challenges, including getting more houses built and delivering vital transport and water infrastructure.

“They also have various issues that need to be closely examined: how they are sustainably funded, how they can deliver critical services more efficiently, and how governance and performance issues can be addressed.

“It’s appropriate these issues are worked through and that we look at the ongoing role of local authorities into the future.

“However, this Government has shown time and again that they have an appetite for amalgamation. We’ve seen it with partnership schools, with polytechnics and now with DHBs.

“This review cannot become a byword for centralisation or an opportunity for power to be taken away from ratepayers. It’s crucial that outcomes are led by communities, not by central government.

“National will support common-sense moves that lessen the burden on ratepayers, make it easier for councils to get houses and transport infrastructure built, and strengthen local governance.”