In 2002, the Labour-led government gave New Zealand the new and 'improved' Local Government Act, which essentially delivered to local bureaucrats the power to do whatever the hell they want, unless there are specific laws prohibiting it (Libz' review of the Act is here). Since this was described as giving councils and their staff the "power of general competence," it's clear that someone at least had a sense of humour, but the nationwide explosion in councils' rates bills that followed the introduction of the Local Government Act was no laughing matter, giving councils all the tools they needed to beat property-owners around the wallet.
Enter National in 2008. Will they promise to repeal the Act? Will they hell. This is the party who gave councils the Resource Management Act way back in 1993 -- which for fifteen years has given councils the tools to beat property-owners, builders and would-be home-owners around the head, and to destroy the dreams, property rights and life-savings of many of them.
So what is John Boy promising now for reeling ratepayers and property owners? Abolition of the LGA? Repeal of the RMA? You've got be joking. Here's what the smarmy git is promising councils: "We want," he told a local government conference yesterday, "to give local government a broader range of tools..." In other words, not less power, but more. Think of that next time a local bureaucrat is giving you the run around, and remember that this brainless prick has just promised the grey ones even "more support ... for undertaking new responsibilities."
Read Liberty Scott for the disgusting details.