infrastructure networks is a technical activity demanding flexible use of
capital and strong asset management capability. When networks cut across
political, environmental or regulatory boundaries challenges are compounded.
This is not the comparative strength of local government.
“Under the current
model we have allowed council financing constraints to undermine investment in
clean water, political constraints to underfund growth services and technical
constraints to under-deliver capital work programmes.
“This is not a good
outcome and the Government’s announcement that it will start the conversation
with councils about what local government is really for should be fully
endorsed across the political spectrum.
“We need local
government representing the needs and views of people and communities,
something larger government bodies and corporations cannot do, and we need
regional government to lead economic development and spatial planning.
“Councils need the
right tools which incentivise and enable them to act in the best interests of
constituents, regions and wider New Zealand.
“With Minister Parker’s
recent announcement that discussion of planning statutes will begin in 2019,
now is just the time to consider all functions of local government – city and
regional planning, regulation, infrastructure and community needs.
“What everyone can agree on is that
we need local government. This conversation provides the opportunity to
repurpose its role to improving community wellbeing and focusing on people
rather than operating pipes in the ground,” Selwood says.
For further information and comment contact
Stephen Selwood on 021 791 209