Friday, 23 April 2021

Local Government needs to get back to basics

“The review from Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta completely misses the mark of what is important to ratepayers,” says ACT’s Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“Our communities want their councils to get back to the basics. Water, rubbish, housing and roads is what councils should be focussed on. 

“This review shows a Government out of touch. Our cities remain congested. Auckland beaches are frequently closed to swimming because of sewage leaks, the pipes in Wellington are broken, we have a drastic shortage of services and consented sections for the next generation to build their homes on. Where is the emphasis on these real world, practical concerns?

“It's a make work scheme for pontificating bureaucrats, what we really want is councils who can direct sewage to sewerage treatment plants instead of the beach.

“There is not a single mention in the terms of reference today of ‘core functions’ or ‘ratepayers’.

“There are however lots of references to climate change, Māori/Treaty and wellbeing.

“The terms of reference state ‘It should recognise Aotearoa’s increasing diversity, and give consideration to the relationship between strengthening social inclusion and improving the wellbeing of our communities.’

“That shows just how fuzzy this review is. The reality is that if councils take on more work and more functions rates will go up. Councils should be focussed on fixing the pipes and roads and the Minister should be ensuring that’s the focus.

“The role of local government should be to provide services that neither central government nor private enterprise can provide. This report will allow Local Government to keep failing hard at essential services, while pursuing a range of 'tiresomely woke' agendas.”