Calls for local government to have more power so ‘communities have more say’

A new campaign has kicked off trying to convince Kiwis they would be better off if local government has more power, and Parliament has less.

The organisation’s president Dave Cull wants other funding lines for local councils. Source: Breakfast

'Project Localism' is the brainchild of Local Government New Zealand and the New Zealand Initiative to challenge the one-size fits all approach for communities. 

Local Government New Zealand President Dave Cull said on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning it was about "rebalancing both the fiscal and the decision-making framework so that local communities have more say". 

He said there was a high level of variance between New Zealand’s communities, meaning it was not always appropriate to have the decisions made "at the centre, when the knowledge about the circumstance is actually held at local level". 

"It's about what is good for our communities."

Mr Cull said currently much of what local councils have to deal with is constricted by rules and regulations that are set in Parliament.

He said some of the changes would be finding other funding lines for local councils, as currently relying on rates was "simply not sustainable". 

Mr Bridges said there was a lot to like about the idea. Source: Breakfast

National Party leader Simon Bridges said there was a lot to like about the idea, however he was worried about the implementation of new taxes on the public. 

"I think the concern is… we've got more than enough taxes. But if you can move it away from that, and have it more about incentives and growth, [I'm] up for the discussion."

It could effectively see local councils competing against each other, which Mr Bridges said in other countries could see councils being "very vibrant" because of that.