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Source: Hutt City Council

Lower Hutt Mayor, Campbell Barry, says local government needs to change. He is looking forward to working with councils around the country, and central government, to consider the recommendations in the final report from the Panel of the Review into the Future for Local Government.
Mayor Barry says many of the changes recommended by the independent panel would put councils and local democracy in a far better position for the future.
A key part of the report is about affordability for ratepayers, and the recommended changes will ease pressure on communities through a more efficient and sustainable operating model.
“The current rating system is broken and becoming increasingly unaffordable for many of our residents.”
“Quite often central government imposes unfunded mandates on local government meaning we are constantly doing more and are saddled with the increased costs associated with that.”
“This means we’re using blunt tools like our rating system to ask ratepayers for more. By central government opening up new revenue streams to us through an annual transfer, rates on Crown property and climate change support, we will be in a better position to deliver basic services and make long term decisions.”
“Local Government needs to be supported by significant and sustainable revenue streams to support our people, business and environment.”
Mayor Barry says he is pleased to see the focus on partnerships, particularly with Mana Whenua, featuring strongly throughout the panel’s report.
“There is a need across local government to improve partnerships with Mana Whenua. The suggestion in the report to make local government a partner to the Treaty of Waitangi will support this.”
“In Lower Hutt we have seen immense benefit in prioritising and investing in our partnerships with Mana Whenua. This includes a renewed focus on social and environmental outcomes and delivering services and projects in an equitable and empowering way.”
Overall, Mayor Barry says local government needs to change.
“Our current structure is not fit for purpose.”
“The panel’s report puts an important challenge to central and local government. I’m pleased that it outlines a clear roadmap to strengthen local government and devolve greater decision making to our communities and strengthen local democracy.”
“It’s important that these recommendations are closely considered, and that we don’t kick the can down the road any longer.”