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Key Messages

19 September 2018

KEY MESSAGES

The Nelson Residents & Ratepayers Association is hosting the first conference of all interested Ratepayer and Resident groups throughout NZ in Nelson on 10-11 November 2018 at Ocean Lodge, 20 Muritai St, Tahunanui.

Ratepayers NZ will represent all these member groups. It will become a driver of local government reform and accountability.

Local government means: 61 territorial authorities, which is made up of 11 city councils and 50 district councils; 11 regional councils; and six unitary councils; along with their CCOs, CCTOs and other ratepayer funded entities.

Ratepayers mean residential, commercial and industrial ratepayers.

We will lobby central government for legislative changes to improve local government and that LGNZ, councils’ CEOs and staff are accountable.

We want to see politically neutral public service from officials and staff in local government: and

That accurate and full information is given to elected Councillors to base their decision making on; and

That all pertinent emails and information are passed onto elected Councillors, not just what the CEO wants them to see.

We will recognise innovations, good ideas and service that work well in Councils so that others can do the same.

That the compulsory DIA benchmarks that councils are required to report against are realistic and meaningful and that DIA have staff experienced in analysing the data, measuring it and reporting it in a meaningful way.

We want rates to be affordable and explainable to ratepayers.

We expect elected Councillors to represent the views of ratepayers and bide by their wishes, not defend the staff and council

Meaningful public consultation and engagement should be entered into prior to decisions being made and public submissions should be actively listened to and acted on, not brushed off and ignored.

That procurement policies and tenders are transparent and fair.

We are looking for prescriptive consistency across councils in their implementation of the RMA, not their interpretation.

We want to see a consistent Code of Conduct in councils so it is not used to bully and gag Councillors. We want to see them back in control of council.

We want to see Councillors given the legal right to set fees and charges at council – not the staff.

We will advocate on behalf of our members to improve the performance of local governments.

Graham Jones from Dargaville, Northland, suggests we discuss the following points.

1)    We want to see councils recognising and acting according to the  laws written for their purpose, and not relying on Parliament and the  judiciary to invent interpretations to get them off the hook;
2)    We need to have a discussion about the structure that invests total power in the hands of a (non-elected) Chief Executive whereas the public elects councillors to be in control.


Media contact: Steve Cross 021 899 853