Perceptions of local government at all time low

Press Release – New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union

New survey shows perceptions of local government at all time low
3 July 2017
Despite specific commitments by heads of local government to increase the levels of performance, the 2017 “Local Government Survey” reveals that the public’s opinion of the performance of local government continues to decline since the last time the survey was done in 2014.

The survey, conducted by Colmar Brunton, and released by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) on Friday, shows:

• 54% of the public, and 50% of businesses, believe the performance of local government has got worse in the last three years (only 32% and 31% thought it has got better).

• On LGNZ’s measure covering performance, spending decisions, and value for money, the score has gone down from 28% in 2014, to 27% now.

• In all other areas, the scores have either gone down or stayed the same.

“The fact that this report was dumped on media at 4pm on a Friday says it all really,” said Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, commenting on the findings.

“The spin LGNZ President Lawrence Yule is putting on the survey is that it shows people are understanding more the ‘importance’ of local government. No wonder that’s the case – in Mr Yule’s own district, his Council’s water killed at least two people. Auckland Council is still wasting money, and not focusing on core services. Across the sector, there is chronic underinvestment in core infrastructure, while councils waste money sticking their noses into an ever wider range of areas.”

Incredibly, Mr Yule’s media statement claims that the results show the sector is ‘on the right path’. But that’s not what the public think. “This survey shows that there is now a crisis in local government and it has to get a lot worse under the leadership of Mr Yule” says Williams. “Only 29% of Councils are participating in the ‘Excellence’ programme Mr Yule’s report claims will be the fix the the local government sector’s problems.”

“Unfortunately, these results are no real surprise. In addition, despite LGNZ’s claim that its ‘paramount’ role is to ‘protect and enhance local democracy’ it hasn’t once stood up to the invasion of unelected appointments and iwi vetoing of democratic decisions, which undermine democracy.”

Later this month, Mr Yule is resigning his post as Presdent of LGNZ to stand for Parliament and has told media that he wants to be a Cabinet Minister in the areas of local government or the environment. “Talk about the fox wanting to guard the hen house” concludes Mr Williams.

The full survey is available at: http://www.lgnz.co.nz/assets/Uploads/44474-LGNZ-Reputation-Report-2017-FINAL.pdf
The 2014 survey is available at: http://www.lgnz.co.nz/assets/In-background/LGNZ-2015-Survey-Report-FINAL2.pdf

ENDS

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