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Kempthorne: new legislation will hamper growth

November 30th, 2012
[TDC press release]

The Local Government Reforms were passed by Parliament on Wednesday night, but their enactment "is not going to increase the efficiency of councils nor reduce costs", says Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne.

The law was introduced by the Government under the guise of council's straying from their core functions and the resulting inability to provide for economic growth without there being a growing cost to ratepayers.

"Our view throughout this process has been there has been no evidence presented to support the Government's view, nor is there any certainty the proposed changes in the Bill will deliver on what the Government is trying to achieve," Richard said. "Rather, the proposals may have a number of unintended consequences.

"Instead, as a number of commentators have already identified, the Government has injected uncertainty into the law by increasing the scope for council decisions to be judicially reviewed.

"This ability to test decisions judicially is not going to increase the efficiency of councils nor reduce costs. The costs associated with judicial reviews will fall on ratepayers to meet but the Government's changes will be responsible for these costs."

Richard said TDC has always attempted to have a closer relationship with Government particularly in the introduction of legislation. "However, in this case they have not listened to us.

"Councils are very aware of the need to reduce costs to ratepayers and we are continually looking for, and implementing, positive changes. For example, the councils throughout the South Island and closer to home, the top of the South, have been working closely together already to increase our shared services with the aim of greater efficiency and positive outcomes for the very distinct communities we represent.

"Unproven, ideologically driven, 'one size fits all' legislation is just going to make the outcomes sought all that more difficult to achieve."


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