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Why good people shun local government

  • December 15th, 2014

Councils throughout New Zealand depend on the accidents of election or employment of a few self sacrificing competent people to carry the busloads of nodding passengers elected every three years. It is clear that size of local government unit is no predictor of overall competence or efficiency. A good mayor, or deputy, or CEO can make a council look adequate, or even good.

John Roughan’s Saturday Herald opinion piece reports on part of a day following Auckland’s Cr Cathy Casey.

He nails it in the last paragraph and leaves us to imagine the rest of the day –

Long ago when I covered councils, elected members took time out from real jobs. These days they need to be full-time to read the volume of paper produced for them, let alone spend most of every day in meetings. If the vacuous, mind-numbing verbiage they are fed is a terrible waste, imagine the cost of writing it? Up close it’s worse than I thought.

Why do many business people think that local government will improve by amalgamating units. They would not (won’t) tolerate the days spent reading the trite drivel Councillors are fed, or listening to the predictable whines of those who hate change in every sphere.  So why is the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, and the Property Council so indifferent to throwing their weight behind the mayors willing to talk about changes that would actually change the kind of people who’d be prepared to do the job?


  • Roger Strong
  • December 17th, 2014
  • 9:09 am

Our local district council is average which is to say that its pretty hopeless but criticism of it brings many disadvantages and really does little good. My latest attack in a local newspaper brings no support. My chief point is that in the country we have high rates and yet get few or no services. The council denies that we are subsidizing the towns but can’t explain how our rates are spent.

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