Unacknowledged time bomb: Our dissatisfaction with local government

Polling of some 3000 members of the public and businesses scores local government poorly on three core measures of competence, says Local Government New Zealand.

The sector’s national body says the Colmar-Brunton poll gives the sector a score of 29 out of a possible 100 for performance, local leadership, and communication and interaction.

The average score for performance, which covered factors such as value for money, financial management and ability to manage community affairs, came in at 28 per cent. Local leadership scores averaged 26 per cent.

“The results aren’t that flash,” said LGNZ chairman Lawrence Yule, although the results were consistent with similar polling in Britain and Australia.

LGNZ would be introducing “a significant programme over coming months to drive positive change”.

I think LGNZ should consider this a wake-up call.   Councils are seriously mismanaging funds – denying money for library services but setting up Maori boards and LGBT advisory panels against the wishes of the rate payers.

Business perceptions of local government were more negative than those of the general public, the poll found, with businesses wanting greater efforts to grow local economic opportunities, preferential access to procurement contracts, and better building and resource consent processes.

The general public expressed greatest concern about trusting local government to make good spending decisions, provide good value for rates dollars spent, leadership by councillors and strategies for prosperity and well-being.

LGNZ also announced its intention to publish a “thought leadership” paper mid-year on regional transport links to ensure regional development and growth.

The initiative was partly motivated by Air New Zealand’s recent decision to stop serving some smaller regional centres.

There is an ill wind blowing.  The people aren’t going take the sorts of squandering, minority pandering, empire building and excessive year-on-year rates rises much longer.

Local government in New Zealand is seriously out of control, and the fact that less than a third of New Zealanders think they’re doing OK is a dreadful indictment.


– Patrick Smellie, Newstalk ZB

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