Bill amend­ment not wel­comed, mayor

South Waikato News - - Your Health - LUKE KIRKEBY

South Waikato District mayor Neil Sin­clair be­lieves the Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal to re­form the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act has the po­ten­tial to threaten lo­cal democ­racy.

The Gov­ern­ment’s aim with the Bet­ter Lo­cal Ser­vices Bill is to ‘‘im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery and in­fra­struc­ture pro­vi­sion ar­range­ments at the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level’’ but Sin­clair said while he was not op­posed to change it could po­ten­tially take away all power from com­mu­ni­ties to have their say on lo­cal and re­gional mat­ters.

He said the coun­cil was also con­cerned about the lack of con­sul­ta­tion that went into the draft­ing of the bill.

‘‘The lo­cal gov­ern­ment com­mis­sioner will have the power to ap­point chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cers (CCO) which will ef­fec­tively run wa­ter, roads, and sewage. It is a threat to lo­cal democ­racy and lo­cal de­ci­sion mak­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘If you took those things away from the coun­cil and the Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to be­lieve we should not do the four well­be­ings (pro­mo­tion of the so­cial, cul­tural, eco­nomic, and en­vi­ron­men­tal well­be­ing of com­mu­ni­ties) then I don’t know what we would ex­ist for.’’

‘‘For leg­is­la­tion that will have such wide reach­ing im­pacts on lo­cal gov­ern­ment, it is very wor­ry­ing that no con­sul­ta­tion oc­curred with Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand (LGNZ), the So­ci­ety of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Man­agers (SOLGM), and individual coun­cils.’’

‘‘This is prob­a­bly one of the big­gest chal­lenges that is go­ing to face the new mayor and a new coun­cil,’’ he said.

The coun­cil has made a for­mal sub­mis­sion to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Select Com­mit­tee out­lin­ing its con­cerns and in sup­port of sub­mis­sions made by LGNZ and the SOLGM.

The coun­cil’s sub­mis­sion also states that it would like to ap­pear be­fore the select com­mit­tee.

At LGNZ’S an­nual con­fer­ence in Dunedin last week, which was at­tended by Sin­clair, deputy mayor Jenny Shat­tock, coun­cil­lor Jeff Gash, and deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Smit, 97 per cent of mem­bers voted in favour of a re­mit.

They called for vig­or­ous op­po­si­tion to any mea­sure in the Bill that di­rectly or in­di­rectly re­moves the re­quire­ment for com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and demon­stra­ble com­mu­nity sup­port.

South Waikato District mayor Neil Sin­clair fears the im­pact the Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal to re­form the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act could have lo­cally.

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