20 Mar 2012

Changes will stop local authorities getting into debt - Smith

6:16 pm on 20 March 2012

The Minister of Local Government says changes announced Monday will stop local authorities accumulating large amounts of debt.

Nick Smith says the law change, set to come into effect in September, will restrict councils to providing good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the lowest possible cost.

He says the Government wants to clarify the role of councils.

Dr Smith says local authorities will not be forced to merge to achieve efficiencies but one of the law changes will make it easier for them to do so.


The changes will be included in legislation he expects will become law in September.

The Labour Party's local government spokesperson believes the minister wants to restrict the core services provided by councils and look at putting a cap on rate increases.

Annette King says it is local people who should decide what their rates are spent on - not central government.

But ACT Party leader John Banks says council spending and debt is out of control and core services must be limited.