National's rationale for local government reform is based on false information and a handful of egregious examples says Labour's spokesperson for Local Government Annette King.
Following her address to the local government conference Annette King said local government is being set up as the Government's straw man.
"Take National's fear mongering around rates increases as an example. Today I received a response from Local Government Minister David Carter, confirming that figures used in his Better Local Government reform paper, claiming councils had out of control debt and rate rises, were based on incorrect data.
"I waited over a month for an answer to this simple question. Interestingly, it arrived on the day that the local government conference is due to finish," Annette King said.
The table in question was removed from the Better Local Government paper and the Department of Internal Affairs website within days of the paper's release because the data was inaccurate and because of the picture that was being given of some of the councils.
"In his response the Minister admits that this information is not a fair basis on which to judge councils performance.
"This paper and this process is not about the management of rates and debt levels. What it is about is central government imposing its agenda on local government, regardless of the facts," Annette King said.
"The Minister needs to fess up about National's real rationale for reform.
"The Government has provided no evidence to back-up its removal of economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing as requisites in the current Act. It's no wonder Local Government unanimously rejected this aspect of the current bill.
"The Minister wants to control local government. What he should be looking for is a partnership with them," Annette King said.
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