New Zealand First says the Local Government Amendment Bill will undermine democracy by having local authorities taking orders from the minister instead of listening to their communities.
Local Government spokesperson Andrew Williams says a better balance is needed between Central and Local Government which collectively face infrastructure bills estimated at about $60 billion over 10 years.
“At the moment all National are doing is kneecapping Local Government instead of promoting it to be a partner in growing the New Zealand economy.”
Mr Williams says ratepayers should not be expected to meet the cost of vital infrastructure projects and the implementation of innovative funding strategies needs to be investigated.
“It could see councils issue infrastructure bonds and adopt other long term funding mechanisms to ease the burden on ratepayers.”
Mr Williams says in a speech John Key made as leader of the opposition he said ‘I see investment in infrastructure as one of the absolutely key ways to improve New Zealand's long-term sustainable growth rate.’
“It is time he started listening to his own advice instead of taking cheap shots at Local Government.
“He should recognise that developing a more cooperative partnership with local government will help stimulate the economy and provide more employment.” says Mr Williams.