Labour and local government haven’t got message yet

Voters sent Labour a message in last year’s election by either voting for other parties or not voting at all.

But has the party got it? Trans Tasman doesn’t think so:

Shearer is still feeling his way forward as Opposition leader, and those who are eager to detect signs Labour has absorbed the lessons of its thrashing at the polls last November have yet to be convinced it has done so.

NZ is living in a very different world from where it stood just a decade ago. The limitations of state power in an era of global financial constraint have become clearer to even the most indifferent citizen. There is no longer any conviction Govts can find, and deliver, an easy path to prosperity. New Zealanders are able to see only too clearly in the fate of countries like Greece that the penalties of using debt to achieve prosperity can be catastrophic. The painful lesson from the first decade of this century is there are no silver bullets in the political armoury, particularly when the nation has to deal with a disaster as big as the Canterbury earthquakes.

Businesses and households have got the message.

The government is very clear it has got the message and most of the public service has got it too.

But there is no clear evidence that Labour has really got it yet and there is another big sector of the economy that isn’t yet showing it’s got the message and that’s local government.

3 Responses to Labour and local government haven’t got message yet

  1. Neil says:

    No doubt HP you are referring to the article in last weeks SST about council debt.
    Yes some councils have considerable debt,especially those with a small ratepayer base but with a huge visitor base going through the area-Queenstown Lakes for example.
    Infrastructure is needed in these areas, but with population based funding from NZTA this area will always struggle.
    As well governments of all types have passed on costs to councils by giving councils the authority over “lemons” like dog control,building controls which imposes financial pressures over all councils.
    I would admit that some large urban councils have entered areas they shouldn’t have – sports events,building facilities that are beyond their means.
    I think your criticism is a little unfair,however it’s somewhat reflective of many rural ratepayers. Personally I think government should be more willing to meet with LGNZ to discuss the issue of debt and how government can help reduce it.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Neil – I agree about the passing on of costs but think the root of the problem was the power of general competence which Labour gave councils.

    This has got them into expensive initiatives well away from their core responsibilities.


  3. Sally says:

    Actually the root of the problem lies with far too many incompetent Councillors giving their CE’s an open cheque book.

    Much is being made of Finance Company Directors abdicating their responsibilities. I see no difference to the role of a councillor to that of a director.


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