Labour withdraws support for Local Government reform bill

3 September 2016      MEDIA STATEMENT

Labour has withdrawn its support for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No. 2) as National shows no signs of acknowledging the chorus of opposition from mayors and councils throughout New Zealand, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.

“Labour has expressed concerns that parts of this bill undermine local decision-making from the outset, yet we agreed with the stated intent of making local government more efficient and delivering better services to ratepayers.

“We supported it through to select committee in good faith so the issues could be debated nationwide and important amendments could be made.

“However, in spite of massive opposition from mayors and councils throughout the country, Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga shows no sign that he’s listening at all. In fact, he recently accused South Island mayors of only being opposed because they’re electioneering.

“That shows how completely out-of-touch the Minister is with the people we elect to represent us at a local level.
“The local government sector weren’t properly consulted on this Bill, and the Government has tried to rush it through Parliament.

“After eight years in government, National should understand that you can’t reform a major piece of legislation like the Local Government Act without decent consultation first.

“Labour believes in a partnership approach between central and local government. We back the Kiwi Dream and know we can’t deliver those outcomes without a solid partnership with our councils,” says Meka Whaitiri.

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