UPDATE: “Expecting governments to fight the deficit is like expecting the mafia to fight crime.”
Council parasites have their hands out again.
Until Sandra Lee’s 2002 “reform” of local government, which granted council’s a legal all-clear to do whatever the hell they like unless prohibited by law, most councils did their best to keep their spending under control. Since then, the shackles have been off.
Today, Local Government head Lawrence Yule released a “discussion paper” recognising “a significant shortfall between revenue and spending by councils.” In times of yore, this was called overspending. Now, it means councils considering more ‘”funding mechanisms.”
Yule argues “therefore” that councils should have “broader taxing powers” (including “local income tax, local expenditure tax, selective taxes, regional fuel taxes and transaction taxes), “co-funding” from central government, “user charges,” and – naturally – even more debt piled upon existing debt.
In other words, every means possible should be used by over-spending councils to put their hands further into your pockets.
Not included in Lawrence Yule’s report is the obvious response to the shortfall between revenue and spending: that councils should stop spending so goddamned much.
Sandra Lee, and every local government minister since who has refused to slap the shackles back on over-spending councils, have a hell of a lot to answer for.
New Zealand’s average rates bill has doubled in the last 20 years, tracking at twice the rate of inflation. Instead of focusing on the quality of councils' spending decisions, this campaign is using ratepayer money on propaganda promoting new taxes.
LGNZ is a taxpayer funded lobby group representing the interests of councils. Nowhere in the discussion paper do we see a disciplined analysis of why local government spending is out of control.
This campaign is so blatant that LGNZ spin doctors are sending Mayors draft opinion pieces so local politicians can 'leverage local media' and promote these new taxes. The Taxpayers' Union has been forwarded some of the emails by elected officials who are concerned LGNZ is overstepping the mark.
Responding to LGNZ President, Laurence Yule’s comments that “The goal is not to increase the overall tax burden for New Zealand, but rather to determine whether a different mix of funding options for local government might deliver better outcomes for the country,” Mr Williams says:
“Mr Yule is telling the public that the goal isn’t to increase the overall tax burden, but today he released
a report, not on ways to save money, but on ways to tax more."
- LGNZ’s Alternative Funding Mechanisms Can Get Stuffed – NOT PC, April, 2014
- And the country’s most indebted council is … - NOT PC, June, 2014
- When will they withdraw council’s “powers of general competence”? – NOT PC, August, 2013