September 26, 2016
This week we have one of those successes which come from quiet diplomacy, attention to detail and working with kindred groups.
On Friday, September 23, the Government announced that the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) will now not be reported back to Parliament until March next year. It was originally going to be reported back by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee on October 28.
The Government introduced the Bill to Parliament earlier this year which, if passed into law, would have removed much of our rights and abilities to have any say at all in how our local bodies operate. In particular the Bill included a proposal to extend the powers of the Local Government Commission to re-structure district councils without consultation with rate payers.
That would have meant that the Local Government Commission could require neighbouring district councils to amalgamate some or all of their functions and ratepayers would have no say in the process. If we want to keep local body rates affordable it is essential that we must not lose the right to have our own local government and to elect who we want to represent us locally.
Zone Four Board Representative Pete Matcham presented a submission to the Select Committee considering the Bill and we joined forces with Local Government New Zealand which also opposed that part of the Bill.
The Government has now agreed to have further discussions with those who opposed the Bill in its original form with a view to making some radical changes and we will be part of that process..
It was a good initial result brought about by hard work, cooperation and sound strategic planning.
Former National President
Grey Power Federation