Friday, September 23, 2016

Good news on local government

Back in June, National introduced the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). The bill was yet another attack on local body democracy, allowing central government to effectively force mergers, force councils to divest services to council-controlled organisations, and (particularly disturbing in light of the Canterbury experience) create extended unitary authorities which could control water and air quality decisions in other districts (without those districts getting a say). But now its been delayed for a rewrite:

The Government has bowed to pressure from the country's mayors, putting changes to local government law on the backburner and signalling it may could rejig the most contentious measure.

Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has told the select committee considering the changes to postpone its report back from the scheduled October 28 until the end of next March.

He said the delay would "allow for further policy consideration and drafting changes" to the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2).

"This will enable more rigorous analysis of submissions and more constructive dialogue with the local government sector," Lotu-Iiga said.

Hopefully this will result in the anti-democratic provisions of the bill being pulled. And if not, Peter Dunne has withdrawn his support, so the government may no longer have a majority for it.