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Local Government Amendment Bill Waters Down Democracy

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Local Government Amendment Bill Waters Down Democracy

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) strongly opposes Rodney Hide's Local Government Act (2002) Amendment Bill on the grounds that it waters down democracy.

The PSA is the principal union in local government, representing around 40 per cent of the sector's wage and salary earners nationally, and in Auckland around 50 per cent.

"This bill is fundamentally flawed because it threatens the public ownership and control of community assets and services. The bill wants local authorities to focus on delivering only 'core services' and to contract out or sell other assets and services," says Public Service Association National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

The PSA presented a submission on the Local Government Act (2002) Amendment bill to the select committee today. Brenda Pilott told the committee that the bill is fundamentally flawed.

"The bill removes the community's voice from important decision making and threatens public ownership of vital resources like water," says Brenda Pilott.

"It's interesting to note that New Zealand was one of 41 nations that yesterday abstained from voting on the United Nations' resolution that access to clean water is a human right.

"International experience shows us that when a vital resource like water is put into the hands of private operators - costs go up while maintenance and safety, along with employee wages and conditions, go down.

"The bill removes community consultation when it's needed most. The contacting out of significant services such as water will all be done behind closed doors. That changes the fundamental nature of local government - it removes everything that makes it local," says Brenda Pilott.

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