Local government is protesting against the financial burden of unfunded legislative requirements, according to a new report.
In a Local Government New Zealand survey, 56 of the 83 local councils who responded said they believed the Government's motto is "we say, you pay".
The councils said they needed 720,000 hours of work at a cost of $25 million to meet the requirements of four new Acts of Parliament.
The report says central Government has for years told local authorities what to do, without providing the means to do the work.
Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule says unfunded regulation hits ratepayers in the pocket.
He says legislation must produce benefits that outweigh the costs, but the four new Acts simply restated things local councils were already doing or required expensive actions ratepayers did not want.