Mayor wants hold on Gov­ern­ment bill

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.’’

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