Politicians lobbying politicians to protect their spending of other people’s money


There is seriously feather-bedding and patch protection going on in Queenstown:

The nation’s councils have voted unanimously to lobby the Government over its proposed local government reforms.

Council representatives met in Queenstown yesterday for Local Government New Zealand’s annual general meeting.

Seventy-eight councils collectively agreed to pressure the Government to keep the four “community wellbeings” enshrined in legislation. They relate to social, financial, cultural and environmental outcomes.

The Government proposes axing the community wellbeings from the Local Government Act to make councils focus on “core responsibilities” and reduce the rates burden on constituents.

However, Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said the wellbeings provided certainty for councils and helped deliver desirable outcomes to their communities.

“Certainty for councils and desirable outcomes for communities”?  What about the poor, long suffering ratepayer who has to fork out for their pet projects, like V8 races, flower shows, grandiose corporate offices and trade-stalls-in-cultural-festival-drag (aka Pasefika et al).  All the airy-fairy stuff is simply not Council’s task, certainly not it’s primary task, and not while we have basic infrastructure such as sewerage and stormwater pipes well overdue for replacement.

If the Government’s amendment was introduced, councils feared they would be hamstrung from serving their communities as they did now, or become vulnerable to costly legal challenges.

“[The proposed reforms] define the purpose more rigidly and run the risk that people are going to take you to court on the basis that ‘you shouldn’t be doing this’.

“The current system allows councils to do most things, and they do so if their communities want them and are prepared to pay for them.”

The problem is, Lawrence, the people you call a “community” quite often are not the people who are paying for these nice-to-haves. So of course they’d support it being paid for by someone else.

How about advocating for a form of poll-tax, where everyone over the age of 18 pays rates to the Council, not just property owners in the guise of ratepayers?  Then you can truly claim “the community” is prepared to pay for it, because everyone would be making a contribution.

The need for Local Government to be reformed is directly proportional to the level of disagreement these local government troughers express.

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