16 Jul 2012

Minister gives assurance he'll work with councils

5:16 pm on 16 July 2012

Local Government Minister David Carter says he has given an assurance to councils that he will work constructively with them on new legislation.

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) members voted unanimously at their annual conference in Queenstown to oppose the Government's plan to change the definition of what their core services should be, in a bill currently before Parliament.

President Lawrence Yule says it is a significant move by councils and they are asking the Government to seriously consider the matter.

He says they do not see why the purpose of local government needs to be redefined.

Mr Yule says the new definition would be open to numerous legal challenges and should be dropped.

Mr Carter says councils will be able to make submissions to the select committee considering the bill.

"We don't get legislation around local government matters before Parliament very often. Let's work together and make sure that what we do finally push through Parliament is something that's enduring for the sector."

Mr Carter says the Government is still keen to tighten the purpose statement in the bill, so that councils will focus on their core business.

Prime Minister John Key also says LGNZ will be able to make submissions. Mr Key says submissions will be considered by the committee, and in due course, the matter will go back before Cabinet.

The Local Government Amendment Bill is currently before a select committee.