Finance rules ‘needless’
New rules aimed at making council finances easier to understand are a waste of time, mayor Len Brown says.
The Local Government (Financial Reporting and Prudence) Regulations come into force on May 1. They set out seven benchmarks which can be explained in simple graphs to show whether a council has met its goals.
But Brown says they are unnecessary and the government should implement those changes for its own books.
‘‘If they applied the same transparency regulations to their own budgets, we might actually get somewhere in this country.
‘‘We are subject to constant oversight by the auditor-general; we have monthly reportings on the state of our budget to our committee structure in open session that anyone in the community can come and observe.’’
The seven goals are: Rates affordability, debt affordability, balanced budget, essential services, debt servicing, debt control and operations control.
Most of the guidelines simply show whether a council has met its budget goals.
Associate local government minister Sam Lotu-Iiga says the new rules will provide insight and improve decision making at a local level.
‘‘This will mean both the current position of a council and the past and projected trends in its financial management will be more transparent to ratepayers.’’
Councils will have to include the benchmark graphs in their reports for the 2013-14 financial year by October 31.