LGNZ bans dissenting voices from its annual conference

I didn’t think Local Government New Zealand (an organisation that previously was very well respected, and I even was a guest at) could shoot itself in the foot even more than they have over Three waters, but they have managed it.

The start of their troubles was when for some moronic reason they signed a contract with the Government where they agreed to not oppose the Three Waters reforms in return for a payment of $250,000. Such an agreement would be repugnant for any democratic organisation, but even worse for one that represents a local government sector worth tens of billions of dollars. Selling your soul for a paltry $250,000 was an own goal of monumental proportions.

But now they have gone one better. The Taxpayers Union had advised its 180,000 members and supporters:

I can’t believe I’m writing this – we’ve been banned from the Local Government New Zealand conference on “the future of local government” that opened this afternoon in Palmerston North. And LGNZ has even banned you!

Late yesterday, the Taxpayers’ Union was notified by LGNZ that our registration for the conference had been revoked and we were no longer welcome.

That’s 180,000 registered supporters like you, our staff, and board members – LGNZ has said that no one from or representing the Taxpayers’ Union is permitted to attend.

So why was NZTU banned from being able to attend the conference as observers?

To our astonishment, the justification for the banning was that “the Taxpayers’ Union has previously criticised LGNZ”. The President of LGNZ said that we are not welcome because “we don’t trust what you might say” about the event.

In short, without any appreciation of the irony, LGNZ is gathering together 400 stakeholders to discuss ‘the future of local government’, democracy, diversity, and Three Waters – but won’t allow groups disagree with them or the Government!

This could qualify as a George Orwell novel.

Remember, LGNZ is 100% funded by ratepayer and taxpayer money!

What next will LGNZ do? Ban journalists whose reporting they don’t like?

If LGNZ – tasked with promoting local democracy – is banning ratepayer voices from discussions on proposed changes to local government, what trust do you have that ratepayers will be a part of the results?

So I am emailing to ask you to speak up for democratic control and accountability.

If you agree that should include those disagree with the government and their sock puppet groups like LGNZ, please take a moment to send an email to those who made this outrageous decision.

Tell the LGNZ President, Council, and the mayors that ratepayers like you should be at the table of these discussions. Local shouldn’t be limited to a special club of people and organisations that the elite happen to agree with.

The team worked overnight and most of today to create an email tool to make contacting the LGNZ leadership easy. They are relying on you to deliver the message at www.BannedByLGNZ.nz

So readers, please click on the link above and tell the leaders of LGNZ what you think of them banning NZ’s largest ratepayer group from attending the LGNZ Conference.

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