Local Government is in many ways the most important level of government in New Zealand. It is responsible for the roads, water, sewers, and public transport that people use every single day. Local government owns extremely valuable infrastructural assets, and collects billions of dollars of rates every year.
Because Local Government is important, it is important that councils function as efficiently as possible. Because councils do not have the kind of opposition-government structure of the parliament, it is harder for ratepayers to hold them to account. Rates have risen significantly over the past decade as councils have strayed into new areas of activity and struggled to maintain vital infrastructure.
There is a need to refocus councils on their core role of providing vital infrastructure, and ensure that they do it in an accountable and efficient manner.
In the last Parliamentary term, with ACT’s support and pressure, the government:
• Merged the seven cities of Auckland into a more efficient Super City that is better able to cut costs through economies of scale and sharing of best practices, as well as coordinate regional infrastructure development;
• Undertook some modest reform of the Resource Management Act, which is administered by Councils, to reduce delays in development;
• Reformed the Local Government Act to improve transparency, accountability and financial management in local government across New Zealand.
ACT will keep working for fewer, higher quality regulations. A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to:
• Continue pressuring Local Government to stay focused on its core role of providing vital physical infrastructure;
• Improve housing affordability by reducing the level of restrictive land use planning that councils impose on the development of property. Restrictive land use planning is driving younger and poorer buyers out of the market by strangling land supply and pushing up the price of housing.