23 September 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga’s request for a five month extension on the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) is an admission that the Bill is fundamentally flawed, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.
“The Minister should withdraw the Bill and stop wasting taxpayer resources after asking the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to extend the report back to next March.
“This is an absolute admission by the Minister that this almost universally panned Bill is fundamentally flawed and needs a massive overhaul.
“Local Government New Zealand and nearly every mayor and council in the country is opposed to this Bill, because of its provisions which undermine local democracy and decision-making. There was also a lack of consultation with the sector prior to its introduction.
“Rather than do the right thing and withdraw the Bill, Sam Lotu-Iiga is attempting to save face by extending the report back date by five months.
“He says this will allow more analysis of submissions and more dialogue with the local government sector. It defies belief, that after eight years in power, the National Government thinks it can still railroad through major legislative reform without first consulting with stakeholders and the public.
“Everyone can see this Bill is a dog and even the Prime Minister says he won’t die in a ditch over it.
“Rather than waste any more taxpayer resource on this terrible piece of legislation, the Minister should apologise to the local government sector, and go back to the drawing board to come up with a workable Bill,” says Meka Whaitiri.