|Andrew von Dadelszen
Former Regional Councillor
Regional council chairperson John Cronin reported on SunLive last week that the Local Government Conference unanimously rejected Central Government’s signalled intention to change the ‘purpose of Local Government’.
LG Minister David Carter has since indicated that National has no plans to backtrack on this. And neither should they! The ‘Power of General Competence’ is incredibly broad, and combined with the current requirement to ‘consult to death’ is costing ratepayers millions of dollars. Local authorities need to harden up and get into the 21st Century – all other New Zealanders are being asked to do this, so why not Local Government?
Chairman Cronin, also on SunLive, made another surprising statement, being “that regional council are good financial managers and are prudent in their expenditure”. My view is that whilst most of what our regional council does is well intentioned, they are far from operating at ‘best practice’. They need to become much more action-orientated and to do this they need to review staffing by moving paper-shufflers to front-line services. If we go by the deliberations on the 10 Year Plan, unlike Central Government, there appears no willingness to front this issue. Bureaucracy has gone mad with our local councils – they are all over-staffed by staff looking at patch protection and total risk aversion, and this makes for poor performance. Start by addressing your staffing issues.
Come on Bay of Plenty Regional Council (and for that matter Tauranga City too) and show some real leadership, and stop navel-gazing. You have the potential to be a great organisation, but you won’t do it by continuing to keep your head in the sand.
If you have a view on these or any other local government issues, I invite you to email me at email@example.com , or visit www.vond.co.nz