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Greens back councils bid to defeat bill

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/09/2016

The Greens are backing a bid by councils to defeat proposed law changes.

The councils say the government's Local Government Act Amendment Bill threatens democracy, and the Greens agree.

The bill has passed its first reading and is in front of a select committee.

On Thursday Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), representing all councils, told the committee the bill gave the government-appointed Local Government Commission dangerous new powers.

LGNZ said the commission would be able to create and appoint council-controlled organisations (CCOs) to handle utilities such as water and roading without first gaining council support.

"The bill poses a real threat to local democracy and the future of communities," said LGNZ president Lawrence Yule.

The Greens want the bill withdrawn.

"It gives the commission the power to give control of councils' key functions and services to unelected CCOs," said local government spokeswoman Jan Logie.

"Pushing ahead with local government reform against the wishes of the people who have decades of local government experience will create a huge mess."

Ms Logie, and the councils, fear the law changes will lead to forced amalgamation.

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