Mayor wants hold on Government bill
South Waikato mayor Neil Sinclair has asked the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to put the Government’s Better Local Services Bill on hold.
The Government’s aim with the bill is to ‘‘improve service delivery and infrastructure provision arrangements at the local government level’’ but Sinclair believes it could potentially take away all power from communities to have their say on local and regional matters.
During the first reading of the controversial bill Sinclair spoke on behalf of the South Waikato District Council to voice his opposition.
He was joined by various local government politicians from throughout the country who supported his stance on the bill which has not been well received.
‘‘They gave us 15 minutes to speak and I spoke for sometime a little passionately, ‘‘he said.
‘‘I emphasised that we believed local democracy and local decision making was at the heart of local government and that we are not against chief compliance officers but we want the right to
‘‘Will the government change? I don’t know but if it doesn’t the local government commission will have tremendous powers’’
appoint them or find alternative ways to produce better effectiveness and efficiancy.’’
‘‘I then suggested the best thing they could do was to put the amendment on hold and go back and start talking to people which received applause from [Labour] but not from [National],’’ he said.
‘‘The chair then said the minister was now talking with Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and I said it was a great idea and what a pity they hadn’t done it six months ago.’’
The Labour Party ‘‘does not support the amendment as it stands’’, Sinclair said.
‘‘Will the government change? I don’t know but if it doesn’t the Local Government Commission will have tremendous powers. It will have the power to come in and say we will wish to deliver [the likes of water] and this is the way you will do it.
‘‘I am bit concerned people are wiping it off and not realising how important it is because if we don’t do something we will wake up one morning and discover the minister has made a ruling.’’
‘‘It comes back into the house in October for its second reading so if anyone is speaking to our local PM please emphasis [your concerns] otherwise it will go through.’’