24 Aug 2012

Local government leaders object to more intervention

12:00 pm on 24 August 2012

Legislation that would make it easier for the Crown to intervene in local government affairs is draconian, MPs have been told.

A select committee is hearing submissions on the Local Government Amendment Bill, which makes it simpler for a minister to intervene in the affairs of individual councils if there is a perceived problem.

Kapiti mayor Jenny Rowan says it would be better to put more capacity and resources into the Auditor-General's office, rather than have central government intervening.

"I think fundamentally, for me, inside this whole discussion is a serious erosion of our democracy."

Wellington Regional Council chairperson Fran Wilde says the Auditor-General has a very good knowledge of local government and as a neutral agency would be trusted by people to advise the Government on whether there is a problem.

The committee is continuing to hear submissions, and is due to report back to Parliament by 15 October.