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Local Government Votes On Remits

Press Release – Local Government NZ

Local Government New Zealands (LGNZ) member councils have today passed 9 remits to direct LGNZs policy advocacy. LGNZ is the peak body representing New Zealands 78 local councils, providing a unified voice for the sector and a pathway for continuous …

Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) member councils have today passed 9 remits to direct LGNZ’s policy advocacy.

LGNZ is the peak body representing New Zealand’s 78 local councils, providing a unified voice for the sector and a pathway for continuous improvement through CouncilMARK™.

A brief summary of each remit, and the voting results, can be found below:

1. Public transport support

Proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to advocate that the Government work with councils to maintain the financial viability of public transport during the recovery phase of Covid-19.

The remit was passed with 99 per cent support of the sector.

2. Housing affordability

Proposed by Hamilton City Council and Christchurch City Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to advocate for the Government to assist councils in delivering affordable housing through introduce legislation that would fully enable councils to address housing affordability in their communities through a range of value uplift and capture tools, establishing a working group on affordable housing, and developing an affordable housing National Policy Statement.

The remit was passed with 85 per cent support of the sector.

3. Returning GST on rates

Proposed by Hamilton City Council and New Plymouth District Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to advocate for the Government to use the appropriate mechanisms to enable the 15 per cent Goods and Services

Tax (GST) charged on rates be returned to councils to spend on local or regional infrastructure projects.

The remit was passed with 92 per cent support of the sector.

4. Natural hazards and climate change adaptation

Proposed by Hauraki District Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to advocate for the Government to undertake, in collaboration with all of local government, a comprehensive review of the current law relating to natural hazards and climate change adaptation along New Zealand’s coastlines, and coordinates the development of a coastline strategy for the whole of New Zealand.

The remit was passed with 98 per cent support of the sector.

5. Annual regional balance of transfers

Proposed by New Plymouth District Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to work with Treasury, Statistics New Zealand and other government agencies to develop an annual regional balance of transfers to show how much each region contributes in taxes and how much each region receives in government funding.

The remit failed with 71 per cent of the sector against.

6. Local Government Electoral cycle

Proposed by Northland Regional Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, Whanganui District Council and Hamilton City Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to advocate for central government to conduct a referendum on a proposal that the electoral terms of both central and local government be extended from three to four years.

The remit was passed with 87 per cent support of the sector.

7. Water bottling

Proposed by Queenstown Lakes-District Council, the remit contains four parts, and calls for LGNZ to work with the Government to:

A. Place a moratorium on applications to take and/or use water for water bottling or bulk export.

The remit was passed with 76 per cent support of the sector.

B. Enable regional councils and unitary authorities to review inactive water bottling consents, with a view to withdraw the consent and discourage consent ‘banking’.

The remit was passed with 86 per cent support of the sector.

C. Undertake an holistic assessment of the potential effects of the current industry, its future growth and the legislative settings that enable councils to effectively manage those effects.

The remit was passed with 92 per cent support of the sector.

D. Initiate a comprehensive nationwide discussion on the issue of water bottling (within the wider basis of water use) and implement any changes to the legislation and policy settings as required.

The remit was passed with 89 per cent support of the sector.

8. Quorum when attending local authority meetings

Proposed by Waikato District Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to advocate for an amendment of legislation to enable elected or appointed members, connecting remotely to a public council meeting, be included in the quorum. This would provide an option for local authority meetings to be held completely remotely, if required.

The remit was passed with 93 per cent support of the sector.

9. Use of macrons by local authorities

Proposed by Waipa District Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to put in place a simplified process for the addition of macrons to council names, if requested by that council or its community.

The remit was passed with 96 per cent support of the sector.

10. Rates rebates for low income property owners

Proposed by Whanganui District Council, the remit calls for LGNZ to work with Government to lift the level of rates rebates available for low and fixed income property owners – with yearly increases taking into account the cost for inputs into local government services.

The remit was passed with 100 per cent support of the sector.

About LGNZ and local government in New Zealand

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is the peak body representing New Zealand’s 78 local, regional and unitary authorities. LGNZ advocates for local democracy, develops local government policy, and promotes best practice and excellence in leadership, governance and service delivery. Through its work strengthening sector capability, LGNZ contributes to the economic success and vibrancy of communities and the nation.

The local government sector plays an important role. In addition to giving citizens a say in how their communities are run, councils own a broad range of community assets worth more than $120 billion. These include 90 per cent of New Zealand’s road network, the bulk of the country’s water and waste water networks, and libraries, recreation and community facilities. Regional and unitary councils play a key role in administering the Resource Management Act and as environmental regulators. Council expenditure is approximately $8.5 billion dollars, representing approximately 4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and 11 per cent of all public expenditure.

For more information visit www.lgnz.co.nz.

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