Last year I told you about the radical proposals Nanaia Mahuta’s ‘Review into the Future of Local Government’ is proposing. While Ms Mahuta is no longer the Minister of Local Government, the Panel is continuing its work anyway! The proposals include:
- Lowering the local voting age to 16 without a referendum.
- Bringing in unelected mana whenua appointees for all of New Zealand’s councils who would be given equal status and voting rights as elected members, but unlike the councillors, cannot be removed at the ballot box.
- Giving councils the power to introduce ’new funding mechanism’ – new council taxes – without a binding referendum.
- Removing the requirement for local referenda before changing the voting system by imposing STV across the country.
- Introducing randomly selected ‘citizens’ assemblies’ that you cannot vote out.
The Panel has the temerity to say these proposals “strengthen democracy”, but advocates introducing unelected mana whenua representatives onto councils and their committees with the same status – and voting rights – as elected councillors.
Take five minutes and make a submission, before it is too late.
The consultation is called ‘He mata whāriki he matawhānui’ [roughly “It is a covered surface; it is comprehensive” —Eds] and the public round of submissions close at the end of this month. And while Nanaia Mahuta is no longer the Minister of Local Government, she is still in the Cabinet, and her hand picked Panel are continuing anyway. We need to put a stop to this.
We have made it easy for you to have your say on these radical proposals:
>>> www.ProtectLocalDemocracy.nz <<<
Our position at the Taxpayers’ Union is clear: The only people who should make decisions on setting rates and how those rates should be spent, are those who are directly accountable to ratepayers through the ballot box.
These reforms would greatly undermine local government in New Zealand, but they could just be the tip of the iceberg. They are symptomatic of the current government’s approach to local decision making. They have centralised health services and polytechnics and are set on a programme of systemically stripping powers from our councils. First it was water assets, now it is planning and who knows what will be next?
Yes, councils can be wasteful and inefficient, but they are far better than unelected centralised bureaucracies that these proposals take us towards.
Instead of dealing with the real challenges facing local government like these, this Review sadly focuses on yet more identity politics.
And have you noticed that the media has said almost nothing about these recommendations? A Google search for ‘He mata whāriki, he matawhānui’ brings up five – yes, just five – news articles on the consultation report.
That’s why I’m asking you to make your voice heard by using our submission tool.
Thank you for your support.
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union
We suggest customising / personalising submissions — we saw last year with Mahuta’s “Three  Waters” that Labour/Green Party dominated select committees will ignore pre-drafted submissions. —Eds