I spent years on LGNZ. It was often depressing how compliant the executive was with the government. It was full of good people who were often not up to standing up to any government. A very small bunch of us wanted local government to be bolshie and answer back to central government with well thought through arguments. We generally failed.
Over the 3 Waters reforms LGNZ has been truly pathetic. The executive signed a “Letter of Agreement” with the government, without consulting their membership, which basically silenced them. Their leadership has been weak, and I’m not sure about their CEO. A strong CEO would never have suffered the bullying from central government. Now the members are responding toward LGNZ in different ways. Timaru has given notice of pulling out. Waimakariri has called for a SGM of LGNZ. Christchurch has asked its staff to report on options, including pulling out.
The fact is central government needs an organisation like LGNZ. Local government needs an organisation like LGNZ. However, an organisation as weak as LGNZ is right now, points to the need for a complete review from top to bottom. Individual councils should send sensible and able councillors to attend regional meetings. Not numb nuts, which is so often the case. Because strong councillors see more merit in outcomes which further local government’s role.
LGNZ needs regional gatherings where there are vigorous and strong debates. This will make the organisation strong and reflective of the vast array of voices in local government.
Christchurch needs to be calling the Metro mayors together to see if there is a united front on 3 Waters. Christchurch needs to be ensuring that strong councillors are playing a role in Canterbury. I must say that Dan Gordon in Waimakariri is certainly a voice of reason in this area.
Maybe it’s time for a South Island approach to the 3 Waters reforms.
I can understand how frustrated Christchurch councillors are with LGNZ. When the President of LGNZ makes statements like:
“If the Government forced councils into water reforms it would be “pointless” trying to argue against it.
“You’re better to get an influence through the future processes to make it more workable for councils and the community.
“If the Government mandate this, we’ll have a very strong view on it … we’ve reserved the right to do that.”
This demonstrates he’s not up to the job. When 60 out of 67 councils have voted to either say “no” to the reforms, or asking seriously good questions, you don’t say publicly “it would be pointless arguing against it”. That is not only dumb. It’s an example of somebody throwing in the towel part way through a boxing bout. It’s an admission of defeat.
Keep up the pressure CCC. The government are wrong on many counts. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/126651115/christchurch-city-council-steps-towards-leaving-local-government-new-zealand.