Mayor on the offensive

Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest has lashed out again at the Government for its “contempt” of local government through its proposed reforms.

Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest

And he and fellow Te Awamutu representative Lou Brown are scathing of Local Government New Zealand’s response with Brown critical of its chair Stuart Crosbie who said councils had to “accept” what was happening.

Speaking at this week’s council meeting, Mylchreest said with its majority, the Labour Government was able to press ahead with its review of the role and function of local government and reforms of water supplies and the Resource Management Act.

“All of the changes are actually reducing council’s capacity in the community,” he said.

The whole push was on regionalisation and centralisation, and it was going ahead “at pace.”

“I believe we really need to have more impact and comment through Local Government NZ to actually start more vociferously to let central government know that local government is not going to go along with the changes,” he said.

“I’m really concerned that local government is going to look quite different in a very short amount of time. It’s a real concern to me. We can only keep advocating on our community’s behalf.

Lou Brown

“I’m not feeling positive about some of these reforms,” said Mylchreest.

Calls for Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta to stand down over her handling of the Three Waters reforms have intensified in recent weeks partly because of her perceived inability to consult with local authorities.

But the other reforms have received less publicity. Mahuta asked a review panel to consider what local government does, how it does it and how it pays for it. That panel’s report is due next year.

It could potentially result in the biggest shake up in local government since 1989 when county and town councils were scrapped and 800 local bodies were amalgamated into 86 local authorities.

Waipā was created out of the former Te Awamutu and Cambridge borough councils and the Waipā County Council.

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