MP hails councils' reform support
Nelson MP Nick Smith is claiming strong Nelson support for council reform from his annual residents' survey.
However, councils are not so supportive, with Tasman district Mayor Richard Kempthorne last week saying the new legislation will hamper growth, and the Government has not listened to councils.
Dr Smith said his survey results showed 87 per cent (1966) support for local government law reforms, 8 per cent (180) opposed and 5 per cent (117) undecided.
"I am very encouraged by this strong indication of support for National's ‘Better Local Government' reforms. I developed the policy as minister and have since worked hard on the local government select committee to get the details right and the reforms through Parliament."
Dr Smith said he was encouraged by the result backing the reforms.
The next challenge would be their implementation in 2013.
Dr Smith asked residents for their views on the local government reforms in the survey distributed to 27,000 homes in the Nelson electorate at the end of October. The survey attracted 2263 responses, compared to 891 last year.
Dr Smith said numerous respondents made comments about the extent to which their rates had risen in recent years and their concern over council debt.
He said he had discussed the results with Mr Kempthorne and Nelson city Mayor Aldo Miccio.
"They acknowledge the significant impact of the global financial situation and are working hard at balancing the needs of their communities against the cost to ratepayers.
"I appreciate they and their councils are making real efforts to get rate increases down from historic highs.
"My challenge to councils is to pick up on the public mood and the opportunities for savings from the Government's changes so as to get future rate increases as close as possible to the rate of inflation," he said.
The Nelson Mail