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Bill will hold councils to account, Hide says

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide
Rodney Hide

Wellington, April 29 NZPA - Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has introduced legislation to Parliament which he says will make councils more accountable to ratepayers.

He said he was going to amend the Local Government Act to give ratepayers clearer and better quality information about the work of councils, providing them with the tools to influence decisions.

"Ratepayers will be pleased to see the bill contains measures such as a financial strategy with limits on rates and debt to ensure council costs, rates and activities are better controlled," Mr Hide said today.

"Plain English financials will ensure ratepayers can understand what they are paying for and how, and additional financial disclosures will also be required to provide them with more detailed information."

Mr Hide said that under his bill there would be more opportunity for public-private partnerships and reduced restrictions on the use of the private sector to deliver local authority services.

"It is important to note, however, that this bill is not a means towards privatisation of local government assets," he said.

The Green Party said it was.

"The bill will effectively privatise all aspects of water supply services," said MP Sue Kedgley.

"Any further reduction in the involvement of communities in controlling crucial infrastructure, such as water, should ring alarm bells -- especially when we know Rodney Hide's stated agenda is to corporatise and privatise as much of local government as possible."

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