Many proposed legislative changes flowing out of the
Government appear to be a ''sustained attack on local
democracy'', Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead
Councillors at this week's policy and submissions committee
meeting did not hold back their criticism of the Government's
proposed changes and discussion documents.
Mr Woodhead said the council was ''overwhelmed'' by proposed
legislative changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA),
local government, freshwater management and transport, to
name but a few.
''There are good points in some ... but they are sneaking
Some of the legislation appeared to be largely the result of
ministers having focused on ''war stories'', or consent cases
which had wound up in court, which was not a good way to come
up with new legislation, he said.
The Government had been critical of local government's
approach to analysing economic impacts, but its own analysis
of those impacts was lacking.
''It's a 'do as I say, not do as I do' ... I believe it is a
sustained attack on local democracy.''
Local government was ''dead keen'' to work with the
Government to make the changes using its ''on-the-ground''
experience, yet instead got ''silly changes imposed with very
little time frame to reply'', Mr Woodhead said.
''I do not feel good about this. It's not about better
legislation. It's about re-election.''
Cr Louise Croot said the changes to the RMA appeared to be
about centralisation and a ''way to cut out the community
''It politicises the consent process to an extreme degree.''
The rush to make the changes and lack of impact assessments
made the proposals a ''waste of time'' and did nothing to
balance environmental and economic matters for New Zealand,
Cr Trevor Kempton said suggestions district and regional
plans should be ''stapled together'' was ''local body
amalgamation in drag''.