A proposal to raise the profile and professionalism of local
government through an additional levy has not found favour
with the Otago Regional Council.
Council chairman Stephen Woodhead asked councillors at their
latest meeting what they thought of a three-year programme to
improve the public image of local government proposed by
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).
''It's a response to surveys and the low voter turnout at
election time,'' he said.
It was discussed at meetings of local government zone five
and six, where members agreed it had to improve people's
perception of the value of local government and that a
collective programme to build a stronger image would be of
value, he said.
But they questioned whether councils would be prepared to
reallocate some of their communications budget or contribute
to a levy to fund the programme.
Mr Woodhead said although the concept was worthwhile, he was
not sure it justified an additional levy.
''There must be another way to make it happen.''
Cr Doug Brown said he was very sceptical about the proposal
as every council had its own issues.
''This seems like bureaucracy building stuff.''
Cr Trevor Kempton said Local Government New Zealand could not
''grab people by the scruff of the neck'' and make them go to
the polling booth.
Council chief executive Peter Bodeker said the Otago Regional
Council was already concluding a perception survey of its own
The council was taking the issues seriously and had recently
restructured to recognise that.
''We already recognise the importance of doing that