Local Body Reform

The Herald writes:

The Cabinet has signed off on Mr Hide’s request for the Department of Internal Affairs to review local government law, including the removal of the requirement for councils to deliver on “community outcomes” such as social, environmental and cultural “wellbeing” which Mr Hide said pushed councils into providing services well beyond their core roles.

In the Cabinet paper Mr Hide said there was a need for a clearer delineation of central and local government roles. He proposed making councils more financially transparent to force them to focus on core activities.

I know many think Councils should be involved in provision of social services, but I disagree. The reason is it removes accountability from the central Government to fund the public health, education and welfare systems. It leds to duplication and less transparency.

Although the Cabinet signed off on the review, yesterday Prime Minister John Key said he did not agree with Mr Hide’s definition of “core services”.

He said social policies were an important role for councils.

Mr Key said the review was “an engagement in debate” and Act’s policies did not necessarily reflect Government’s view.

My views are more with Act’s on this.

Mr Hide’s paper also suggests more use of polls and referenda as a way of getting “ratepayer authorisation” for major projects, such as building stadiums or high rates increases.

I think this is a good idea.

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