Local Government

Alliance Party Local Government Policy

Preamble

  • During the 1980s and 1990s, local government was reduced to a supporting role for the private sector. The concept of the common good was sacrificed in the interests of allowing business a free reign.

  • Local government has failed in planning for and providing good environments in the major urban centres where most New Zealanders live and work.

  • Service delivery has been poorly coordinated to the detriment of local communities.

  • ‘Consultation’ tends to be based on a limited set of options of the council’s choice.

  • Funding has not kept pace with increased demand.

We stand for the following policies

  • No more sales: The Alliance opposes the sale of public assets and wants local government to own and control services such as water, waste disposal and public transport.

  • Use new powers: The Local Government Act 2002, an Alliance initiative, means local government no longer has to work within the narrow guidelines of specific acts of Parliament. Councils must use these new powers to provide leadership over a wide range of issues in the public interest.

  • Long-term planning: The unregulated development disasters and transport failures in Auckland are a reminder to the rest of New Zealand of what can happen when we leave it up to the ‘market’. What we need are well-researched long-term planning systems, backed up by effective development control regulations that work in the interests of ordinary people.

  • Community decision-making: Finding out what communities want is the highest priority. The Local Government Act 2002 provides the framework; local government must get on with the task.

  • Sound urban development: Well-crafted open spaces with room for a variety of leisure activities are essential in vibrant urban communities, particularly with the increasing density of city centres.

  • Better coordination: The Alliance does not believe that wholesale reorganisation of local government is necessary or desirable. What we need is much greater coordination of activities so that people are not confused by different sets of regulations and processes.

  • Fair rates: Income raised through rates should be based on ability to pay. It is not fair that residential ratepayers pay more than their share as business-dominated local authorities try to hold down rates by reducing business differentials. We support a mix of direct grants and loans from central government, local rating and levies.

  • Proportional representation: Single Transferable Voting (STV) for local government elections.

  • Sustainable development: Take into account the full impact of new projects and current service delivery to ensure sustainable development; strengthen the Resource Management Act and open up public debate on all developments of significance.

  • Good public transport: Reduce travel by cars by investing in buses, trains and ferries, but first bring these back under public ownership and control; encourage public transport use by holding down ticket costs and single ticketing to make it easier for people to use different modes of public transport.

  • Zero waste: Councils should adopt strategies to minimise and eliminate waste by encouraging recycling, promoting the reduction and packaging and consumption, and ensuring that products are made to be reused, repaired, recycled or composted.