The National Government should withdraw the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No. 2) in the face of overwhelming opposition from mayors and councils nationwide, the Green Party said.
The Bill gives the Local Government Commission the power to give control of councils’ key functions and services to unelected Council Controlled Organisations, without councils’ agreement or consulting affected communities.
“When so many mayors and councils are opposed to these antidemocratic changes being forced on them, the Government needs to withdraw the Bill and go back to the drawing board,” Green Party local government spokesperson Jan Logie said.
“Central and local government need to be working together to get the best outcomes for the people who elect them.
“Pushing ahead with local government reform against the wishes of the people who have decades of local government experience will create a huge mess.
“Imposing top-down solutions against the will of local communities has never worked and won’t suddenly start working now.
“National’s agenda is clearly to smooth the path for unwanted council amalgamations against the wishes of communities and their elected councils.
“The Select Committee has heard that these changes will make local businesses less likely to win council contracts, leading to a loss of jobs and talented people from our regions.
“Councils are elected by residents and their assets are paid for by rates – so councils should be the ones deciding what to do,” Ms Logie said.