Monday, 20 October 2014

Send in your horror stories

I fear it’s simply a ruse to absorb dissatisfaction rather than the blunt instrument it should be to hit councils around the head, but new Local Government minister Paula Bennett has now

formally launched her Rules Reduction Taskforce aimed at finding 'loopy' property rules and regulations, naming the heads of the new body and setting up a website to solicit examples.
    "People can now head to this
rules reduction website, to start telling us what bugs them when it comes to loopy rules and regulations," Bennett said.

The “Taskforce” is headed by  National MP Jacqui Dean, with no particular qualifications for the task, and Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett.

"I'm asking property owners, builders, tradespeople and businesses who have experienced the issues caused by irrelevant or unnecessary regulations, to help draw these to our attention," Bennett said…
    "We need to hear from New Zealanders about examples that have got in the way of their building, renovation, landscaping, and home improvement plans, so that we can cut the red tape where it needs to be cut, to help them get on with the job."

I expect little – and still say the single best thing Bennett could do in her portfolio is to reverse the “powers of general competence” that former minister Sandra Lee granted councils -- but I’d still recommend you fill Bennett’s rules reduction website with all your genuine horror stories, of which I know you will have several dozen each.

At least it will give you somewhere to get them off your chest.

Lindsay Mitchell has already made a start.


  1. This could be a time bomb for Bennett and her dreams of becoming PM.

    There are going to be hundreds of people all saying the same thing - but Sir Humphrey will prevent her from abolishing that specific 'red tape' (lest it results in a reduction in Council staff earning 6 figure salaries).

    This may come back to haunt her when the worst stuff remains on the books a couple of years from now despite every man and his dog complaining about it.

    Politically, a "you tell me and it's gone by lunchtime" promise explodes in your lap pretty quickly unless you are serious about it - especially when those rates increases arrive in a mail in 6 months time.

  2. It seems that Paula is suffering from what we used to know as "cone syndrome" in the UK, after the debacle with John Major's Cones Hotline, where members of the public could ring in and complain about motorway roadworks areas with no apparent work happening.

  3. There's no guarantee that Bennett's initiative will lead to any improvement...... but I can guarantee that if everyone sits on the side-lines and continues to criticise her/National even when they do take a step in the right direction, then it certainly won't lead to any improvement.


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