Would someone please tell the kiddies in Seymour’s office to put down the crayons

With each passing day, David Seymour is becoming more and more a laughing stock with his ludicrous suggestions and flippant utterings.

His latest stunt to propose we create the United States of New Zealand.

Local government needs to be given freedom from central government interference, combined with clearer accountability to voters, says ACT Leader David Seymour in the wake of the New Zealand Initiative’s latest report on localism.

The report summarises its idea as “setting clear roles for each tier of government, with limits on the ability of either party to act beyond these limits”.

“Central government meddling in local affairs has resulted in central and local authorities blaming each other for every second problem. This buck-passing has left voters unable to effectively hold either authority to account,” says Mr Seymour.

“If a local council wants to make its own rules around a local issue, the government needs to drop its own meddling in that subject. This way, if things go wrong, it’s clear who voters should hold to account.  

“Perhaps the most radical suggestion, but one that ACT endorses, is the idea of local authorities opting out of particular central government regulations entirely. For example, if a Greens-led government legislated to ban all coal mining, the people of the West Coast deserve the right to a referendum on opting out of the ban.

“Too often, the government designs regulations with Auckland in mind and ignores the effect they have on the regions. One-size-fits-all regulation simply doesn’t work for a country as diverse as New Zealand.

“There are negative effects on our cities too. Auckland Council would love to go ahead with congestion charging, solving one of the most urgent problems the city’s residents face. However, central government is prevents the city from managing its own transport network by banning congestion charges.

“Giving local communities real control could benefit the entire country, as different regions could work as testing grounds for different policies, and local authorities could even compete among each other to find the most effective set of regulations.”

I think ACT has done more than enough damage to local government without more stupid ideas.

Talk about screwing the pooch. Right now is a perfect opportunity to give voters a clear choice instead of that old Mr Key again.

Unfortunately, voters will probably clench their jaws, bite their bottom lip and vote for the wily, old, silver fox of Winston Peters. He at least doesn’t propose dopey ideas.

The voters of Epsom will get a reprieve because National won’t need Seymour’s vote if they cut a deal with Winston.

If ACT, or Winston Peters for that matter really want to offer voters something in local government then the only sensible thing would be to allow recall elections. Nothing holds a politician to account like the threat of losing their job.

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