Government needs to support local gov with funding reform

Press Release – Damian Light

“For too long central government has layered additional responsibilities onto local government with little consultation or acknowledgement of the essential work councils do.Combined with the lack of support and funding, this top down attitude is hurting our democracy and dis-empowering our communities.” said Mr Light. “This has to change and it’s time our MPs stood up for their communities and get a better deal for the public they represent.”

The government’s announcement this week that they are reviewing the cumbersome planning rules for local government is a welcome move. However the National Policy Statement on Urban Development needs to be backed up with greater support for local government including funding to deliver on the lofty promises.

“For over a decade I’ve advocated for rates reform and will continue to do so loudly until our communities get the funding they need to thrive.” noted the former leader of UnitedFuture and long-time advocate of localism. “One of my priorities for this election is getting a fair share for East Auckland so the area can invest to support the massive growth we’re seeing and ensure this doesn’t come at the cost of our environment or people’s safety. But all of Auckland needs more investment as do the other cities and regions.”

We cannot continue to rely on endless rates rises to fund essential services and investment in the future of our country. This is particularly galling when central government sits on record surpluses they seem unwilling to invest.

The Productivity Commission has a draft report out on Local government funding and financing that outlines many of the challenges and opportunities faced. It highlighted four areas that need new tools for funding:
1. Supplying enough infrastructure to support rapid urban growth;
2. Adapting to climate change;
3. Coping with the growth of tourism; and
4. the accumulation of responsibilities placed on local government by central government.
Feedback is due to close this week and government must listen the many voices calling for more funding for local government.

“We must have reform of local government funding – the current model is unsustainable and is holding back our cities and regions. Being forced to beg for funding is demeaning an

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