Tuesday 2 October 2018

Mayors for localism

"Each year there's legislation that still gets passed down to us whether in food safety or parts of the RMA [Resource Management Act] … and no money comes with it," said the Ruapehu District mayor, Don Cameron.

"Ratepayers are expected to pay for every single piece of legislation that comes from central Government. There's always been that tension and it's built to a point now … most local governments, to put it mildly, have had a gutsful."
He includes a few bits from me. I'd clarify one part: I'd noted a few ways of changing the incentives for local councils, including the Initiative's older recommendation of punting the GST revenue from new construction back to Councils. He quotes this as GST from infrastructure expenditure; I suppose that could work too, so long as it were neutral across whether the spend were from Council or private outfits.

I prefer the mechanism in our Special Economic Zones report where Councils would get a cut of the tax revenues that central government receives from a Council that facilitates growth. That version is then neutral across the things Councils might do to encourage growth; the GST on new construction one was from an earlier Initiative report focused on getting around the bottlenecks in housings.

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