Monday, November 17, 2008

A radical agenda

What might Rodney Hide do now that he is Minister of Local Government? The Standard has the lowdown, straight from ACT's Local Government Policy:

Commercial activities are best performed by the private sector because they have more incentive to innovate and deliver better services. Local government should progressively shed ownership of its commercial activities.

Local government should be confined to the core activities that produce general public benefits, such as regulation, flood control and roads.

Local government will be required to shed its commercial activity, thereby eliminating the need to separate regulatory and commercial functions between local and regional councils.

Roads and piped water will be supplied on a fully commercial basis.

Require councils to focus on their core functions.

Ensure there is much greater scrutiny of regulations that undermine property rights.

Lower the cost of complying with the Resource Management Act and other regulatory regimes.

Promote contracting out of many council services.

(Emphasis added).

And of course sticking local government in a financial straitjacket through his Local Government (Rates Poll Demand) Amendment Bill.

Some of this agenda may be constrained by National - but I wouldn't bet on it. Last time they were in government they forced privatisation on local authorities, and the same people are running the show now. Except this time, they get to use Rodney as a front and a blame-sink for their policies. Like The Standard, I have to ask: is privatised water and roads really the change people wanted?