Wellington Chamber backs call for meaningful local government reform

Date Added: 29th June 2018 from

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce is backing the call from the Local Government Business Forum to ensure the recently announced Productivity Commission Inquiry hears the perspectives of business and ratepayers and comes up with meaningful reform.

"Despite over a decade of debate and numerous reports, the issue of future local government funding still has to be addressed," says John Milford, Chief Executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"It’s positive to see this campaign getting under way alongside the release of the report ‘Local Government’s Role and Funding.’

"What’s really telling is at a time when central government is committed to lowering its public debt, local government appears to be taking the opposite tack. Ratepayers may be surprised to know that while inflation has increased by 58 per cent since 1994, local body rates across New Zealand were increasing by a whopping 202 per cent.

"That's indefensible, and it's not stopping there".

The report was prepared for the Local Government Business Forum in advance of the Government inquiry, with research and analysis requested on the following areas:

- size of local government

- council activities and expenditure over time

- problems associated with using property valuation

- what funding alternatives won’t work?

- what funding alternatives might work?

"We believe the Productivity Inquiry is a real opportunity to flush out what changes to the Local Government Act are warranted, including different funding options.

"If New Zealand is to get ahead and local councils play the role they should, a wider use of funding tools is no longer a debate about ‘shall we’ but ‘when’ and how soon."

For more information see www.fixcouncilfunding.co.nz