As you’ll have read, John Key has made ACT leader Rodney Hide his Minister of Local Government. So, what’s ACT’s local government policy?
Commercial activities are best performed by the private sector because they have more incentive to innovate and deliver better services. Local government should progressively shed ownership of its commercial activities.
Local government should be confined to the core activities that produce general public benefits, such as regulation, flood control and roads.
Local government will be required to shed its commercial activity, thereby eliminating the need to separate regulatory and commercial functions between local and regional councils.
Roads and piped water will be supplied on a fully commercial basis.
Require councils to focus on their core functions.
Ensure there is much greater scrutiny of regulations that undermine property rights.
Lower the cost of complying with the Resource Management Act and other regulatory regimes.
Promote contracting out of many council services.
So, contracting out, privatisation of public assets and the commercialisation of water and roads. Is this the change people had in mind when they voted for John Key?
UPDATE: Herald journo Martin Johnston has done a good piece on ACT’s radical plans here.