Politician of the Week – Nick Smith

Someone has finally put councils on notice they can’t continue to increase rates to fund all their own silly projects.

The Government is set to introduce sweeping reforms to curb local council powers and get soaring debt levels down.

Troubled by escalating rates and in line with National’s public sector reforms, Local Government Minister Nick Smith wants to make elected representatives take more responsibility for wage bills and the generous packages offered to chief executives.

And he will pare back the scope of local government functions so they will only have control of essential local services such as waste, water, roads, libraries and consents.

Debt levels have increased for no real gain.

Dr Smith is concerned that local government debt has burgeoned from $1.5 billion to well over $8b in the past decade.

Common sense on the role of councils too.

He believes the blowout stems from 2002 legislation which introduced the “power of general competence”, widening the scope of council responsibilities. Dr Smith said he was “fundamentally re-evaluating that structure”.

“[Councils] can do anything they like. In the Auckland plan, they have set targets for NCEA pass rates by 2020 … nothing to do with the council.

“Councils have got targets around improvements in child abuse – a really important issue – but the proper agency is one that we all pay for as taxpayers through Child, Youth and Family.

“So the package of reform that I’m looking at is one that narrows the scope of local government back to its core function.”

Good work Nick, stick at it and maybe you can put an end to the bullshit around Maori consultative committees having power of veto while you are at it.


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  • Lofty

    Thanks Nick, well bloody done.

    • Dion

      Hear, hear.

  • “Good work Nick, stick at it and maybe you can put an end to the bullshit
    around Maori consultative committees having power of veto while you are
    at it.”

    Yep, a good thing if he could, but he won’t. National are in cahoots with the separatists and selling the rest of NZ down the drain.

    Ignorant tribalists are preventing millions of dollars worth of development and investment in NZ, and they do it not for any reason other than that they can.

    That this happens under the nose of the National Govt, who dare to call themselves “pro-business” is a disgrace.

    The Nats are not “pro-business”. While definitely some small improvement over Labour, they’re still at heart just another gang of socialist sell outs.

    • Super_Guest

      Oh, please, everyone’s a socialist to you. Unless they have Ayn Rand’s fiscal views and Enoch Powell’s social views then they’re a red flag waving commie. What happened to your prediction of the last election being contested between (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Act on the centre and National on the hard left” and your prediction that Don Brash would be at least finance minister by this time, and at this time he’s not even Act leader any more.

      I don’t doubt the sincerity of your views, and I occasionally agree with them (like your thoughts on Curran) but as a political analyst you’re about as insightful and accurate as the mad raving loony on the streets proclaiming that the end is nigh.

      Take. A. Chill. Pill.

      •  You’re lying not paraphrasing.

        I alway said Brash was a fool for going with ACT and that it would end badly. In fact you can read what I said here-


        Who are you? One of Key’s lame media advisers? A bunch of useless rejects from the left’s main propaganda arm otherwise referred to as the mainstream media.

         If Key had half a clue he wouldn’t have bent leftist fuckwits like you within a bull’s roar of any advisory positions. Such wrong advice as you probably gave cost him at least 50,000 votes in the last election.

  • NotLen

    One can only hope!  Please, please Nick.  See it through.

  • starboard

    Not before time. Another Liarbor initiative bites the dust. Get back to core services only ya bastards.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Well hopefully this will put an end to Loopy’s Choo Choo set

  • tspoon

    Maori consultative committees are really only the thinnest of veneers over large scale corruption and payola in our society, one type of many. Big companies don’t speak out, as this extra layer of cost effectively prevents small startup companies from threatening the established market positions of those larger companies. They also get to wax lyrical about how community focused they are. Maori people of lower status see no benefit. Other ethnicities of lower status effectively fund the entire process.
     Many joke about NZ sliding to the 3rd world. In practice it’s not so funny.

  • redeye

    Nick is a great supporter of the new structure being proposed for the Nelson Tasman region. Which includes a Maori board.

    Hopefully that’ll be the catalyst for the success of the NO vote.

  • Allan

    Bring it on, we must stop Loopy Len and his cronies train set dead in its tracks before he drives Auckland’s debt burden into uncontrollable regions.  Unfortunately it will come too late to stop our illustrious Councilor Penny Webster from raiding the coffers to the tune of $8 million in order to try and make some semblence of a business case for this ridiculous project.  The whole scheme is crazy, will never be profitable and be an endless burden on the ratepayers of Auckland should it go ahead.

  • Cadwallader

    As  soon as Councils step past their core responsibilities, shit-pipes and footpaths, we all pay! I hope Nick is sincere, but, sadly I doubt it.

  • Petal

    If Smith actually makes this reality, I MIGHT consider forgiving him for signing us up to the Carbon Emissions Tax rort.

    • Boss Hogg

      No one could ever be forgivien for signing up to any sort of ETS.  EVER – He must be thick, plain and simple.  The others around him are guilty by association and will be ridiculed in the not too distant future along with a long list of “Believers” . Idiots.

      The Science is Settled – Yeah Right !

      • Callum

         It was never about the science, the ETS is to protect trade. Without it we would be open to another food miles campaign in the UK/Europe using the lack of an ETS as a trade barrier. Fatal for an exporting country.

      • Boss Hogg

        Callum – Yes, I take your point, it is valid for sure.  I just dislike any of these schemes.  I like the Chinese approach holding Airbus orders, but obviously we do not have that sort of clout.


  • Salacious T Crumb

    And what about the new Dog Licensing Fees in Auckland? Up to 200% increase no less and for what? Paying for a service that spends its time dealing with feral animals owned by the “poverty stricken” who can’t be arsed abiding by the law.

    • Bafacu

      Don’t you mean  dealing with animals owned by the “feral poverty stricken”

  • RolandS

    We shall see – so far the Honourable Nick Smith has not actually achieved very much – does a lot of talking and makes great statements but we need to see outcomes, results, reality – must admit I am probably biased as Smith did stuff all with regard to sorting out Christchurch CIty Council.  they are still dysfunctional and out of control    Kerry Marshall has shut down the media that’s all. BUT one is forever hopeful!.

  • Mr_Blobby

    Like your style Nick you talk the talk. But I don’t think you can walk the walk. Grow a set of balls and a spine and pass some effective, specific legislation. Like inflation spending caps and limits on borrowing and while you are at it fix the super city and get rid of the unelected Maori vote/veto.
    Thought not. Have you considered it might be time to step down.

  • Phar Lap

    Better late than never.How the hell Wellington City Council got away with spending fifty million dollars of Ratepayers money on an indoor netball court,beggars belief.What was wrong with outdoor courts.Some of the too sweet to be genuine councillors need to be taken to task.Most of the councillors live in over paid ivory towers.GO GET’ EM NICK.

  • George

    I would count this removal of powers of general competency – if it comes to pass – as the one achievement of National in their two terms.  NZ is the sum of it’s parts. If councils are up to their nostrils in debt, add that to personal, business and government debt and we get a clear picture of NZ really being in the donger.  Get councils back on the leash, scrap the ETS and shift the maoris back into civilian life and we may just inch ahead.

  • Vikingonmars

    Given the Nelsons Nutters track record of the last 20 years don’t hold your breath for anything that will make a decent difference.
    Dry timber, look at that fiasco
    Carbon taxes. Well what a laugh. can you find anyone to pay you for you carbon? (other thyan forresters who then sell the rort that goes with it.)
    ACC. Prices down, service even worse than it ever was. Declinning claims for everyone older than 50 cause you are degenerating. What a complete fuckup that outfit is these days. It was bad before Smith started but even worse now.
    And don’t forget the changes to the RMA. They were going to change the country. Instead they made it worse.
    And you think Smith will chganghe councils behavoir. He couldn’t even support Rodney when rodney dodn’t want a Maori committee that vetoed evrything despite charging huge chunks of change for doing SFA for Auckland.

    Smith’s a fucking clown. To brillant for his own good and everyone else’s. A Life server in the trough. Well past his useful date.
    Can’t key find him a diplomatic post at the UN selling carbon?

  • Philip ure a cock

    Fuck yeah! Go get the slimy little pricks full of their own self importance Nick!