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Call to let councils get on with job

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Public policy think tank The New Zealand Initiative wants local government to be able to do their jobs without interference from central government.</span> © Phil Walter/Getty Images Public policy think tank The New Zealand Initiative wants local government to be able to do their jobs without interference from central government. A public policy think tank says it's time central government stopped interfering in what local government is doing.

And Local Government New Zealand agrees.

The New Zealand Initiative says councils need to be able to get on with their job.

"Central government has spent 160 years interfering in areas that should be the responsibility of local government and as a result neither do their job well," executive director Oliver Hartwich said.

He believes there's an "accountability gap" in New Zealand, whereby citizens don't know which tier of government is responsible for which services, who is driving the costs or setting quality standards.

He blamed central government paternalism toward local government, with policy intervention in areas including dog control laws, freedom camping rules and council amalgamation.

The Initiative has published The Local Manifesto, which suggests making councils fully responsible for all services they currently provide.

LGNZ says it's an idea worth considering.

"We are particularly interested in creating greater accountability and transparency around which arm of government is responsible for what," LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said.

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