web analytics

Oram on the regions

Written By: - Date published: 4:17 pm, July 27th, 2015 - 16 comments
Categories: economy, local government - Tags: , ,

National talks about regional development, but its actions don’t match. Dunedin will not forget the closure of the Hillside Workshops. Northland celebrated decades of neglect by kicking the Nats out and choosing Peters. Rod Oram looks at the way the regions are held back in his Sunday Star Times piece (as posted on Facebook):

NZ towns and cities are stifled by government’s rejection of reform

People around the country have every right to feel they are paying too much in rates. Local government finance is broken because central government and business won’t pay their fair share. Nor will they support reforms. This is a chronic problem for all local communities, whether stagnant or declining as some provincial centres are, or booming as Auckland and Christchurch are.

The issues were laid bare, and good solutions offered, in research presented by Local Government NZ at its annual conference this week. On one hand, government is putting more demands on local councils to do the likes of upgrading wastewater treatment. Similarly citizens often have rising expectations about their communities, which would require investment to fulfil.

But on the other hand, rates cover only 49% of council expenditure across the country. Yet councils have very limited scope to raise rates or find other ways to fund the investment and services their communities want. Worse, the Auditor-General estimates council deprecation charges are meeting barely 80% of the replacement cost of ageing council assets. It forecasts that will fall to 65% by 2022, creating a funding gap of $6-7bn.

In response at the conference, Local Government Minister Paula Bennett told the councils to save money. It was clear the government is dead set against reforms to shift some of the financial burden from ratepayers to other sources of finance.

This system leaves our local communities more dependent on central government funding than any other developed country, as shown by analysis the NZ Initiative, the successor to the Business Roundtable, contributed to LGNZ’s research. …

(Read the full article for plenty more about the situation in Auckland and the increased household rates burden.)

“More dependent on central government funding than any other developed country” plus austerity measures and record government debt is not a recipe for regional development. And that’s not to mention the lack of economic diversification exposed by falling dairy prices…

16 comments on “Oram on the regions ”

  1. tc 1

    All created by national so they can grab regional council assets for their mates a la ECAN.

  2. greywarshark 2

    I noticed this statement particularly.
    “More dependent on central government funding than any other developed country” plus austerity measures and record government debt is not a recipe for regional development. And that’s not to mention the lack of economic diversification exposed by falling dairy prices…

    It does seem as if divvying up all the assets we have built up in the last century is their goal, so their books can pass the financial regulator test so gummint can keep borrowing. (Those were the financial regulators still being chirpy to the last minute before the GFC.)

    If central govt is not going to support regions with seed money, regions need to get their own taxes. I suggest having 3% of the GST earned in their own region go back to them.
    It’s what shopping malls do to their tenants, the basic rent has add-ons to it, extra for promotions, and then an extra percentage on growing takings.

    Central govt is preventing regions growing by not supporting basic infrastructure rail, even roads, don’t get a good deal when it’s not Beamer territory. Preventing local taxes makes sure that central pollies can prance around knocking over the queue of local Mayors as if they were dominoes, one push and down they go around the country.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    You might think Auckland’s business leaders would be grateful to the Council spending heavily to improve the city and meet the needs of a growing population, and to households for helping to fund it. After all, business is doing very nicely out of both.

    But by and large business organisations are lukewarm at best about the Council’s investment plans. They have far more to say about how the Council should cut costs and sell core assets such as the airport and port.

    Gee, what a surprise – business people wanting to become even bigger bludgers.

  4. greywarshark 4

    I am interested in Scandinavian countries news. I see that getting money for infrastructure where it is needed, and what taxes should be raised for it is a problem there.

    In a frank item in Ice News the heading is – Minister criticised for pooing tourists. This relates to the present Minister for Trade and Industry not ensuring that rises in tourist numbers (as a result of past government efforts!) were matched by needed facilities like toilets. It is encouraging that we all have similar anguish over the good running of our country’s facilities.

  5. Roy 5

    I keep wanting to say Rod is a genius, but he’s not really. He’s just incredibly insightful and honest, and makes it all sound so obvious. I wish he had his hand on the pump.

  6. ropata 6

    I hope the council continues to jack up Auckland rates sky-high, it’s the nearest thing to a decent land value tax we have. Progressive parties should support this as a fairer form of taxation.

    (The drawback is that it won’t help smaller regions at all…)

    • greywarshark 6.1

      @ ropata
      I think you missed putting the /sarc tag at bottom of your first paragraph.

  7. AmaKiwi 7

    I have been astonished that local body leaders don’t openly criticize the elected dictator and his government.

    In many other countries they would not hesitate to. US states and municipalities often vehemently place the blame squarely on Washington. The Scottish National Party didn’t mince words.

    Why so few criticisms of the elected dictator when he alone is responsible for this mess?

    It has been obvious to me for years that this is the dictator’s game: make local bodies do more work with less money so the dictator’s gang have more for their pet projects like charter schools, roads in their own electorates, lower taxes for their rich mates, etc.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      @Amakiwi
      +1

    • tc 7.2

      Being openly critical of said dictator results in a swift removal for a more compliant replacement, or they run a dirty campaign against you with their preffered option next chance.

      There is always possible funding deprivation also which is the main tool in keeping pesky local bodies in line.

      Worse case they supershity/ECAN you which acts a warning to all the others to toe the line.

  8. Ad 8

    Councils outside NZ cities don’t criticise the government:

    (A) because they have always been dominated by farmers/National supporters
    (B) because local government has been reduced back to a subsistence level, entirely dependent upon central government.
    (C) because every region south of Taupo (other than Christchurch, Nelson, and Queenstown-Lakes) is stagnant or declining, and have little civic will to fight.

    • tc 8.1

      Paula Southgate has been enjoying her time plundering funds without much accountability after being backed by Nat MP’s into the waikato regional council chair.

      A few folk has been raising the issue but it’s easy to defend when the council is stacked with blueys.

  9. feijoa 9

    The Nat government is quite happy to bully councils into selling assets etc if they need any more money.
    Just ask Lianne Dalziel
    I wonder how many assets Christchurch will have left

  10. Nick Morris 10

    Rather than relocating marginally qualified immigrants to the regions, as we find in the latest National sop,what is needed is to encourage enrepreneurial newcomers who will start businesses in regional areas. This would provide both employment and extra income for the receiving regions. Better to become more viable this way, than by hoping for a greater share of the national cake.
    The big cities will not give up this class of immigrant lightly so the incentives will need to be real.
    Anyone expecting this to happen?

  11. philj 11

    More entrepreneurs like Kim Dot Com throughout the regions you mean …? lol. JK would love that.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Next steps for Christchurch Hospital campus redevelopment
    Canterbury DHB will be better placed to respond to future demand for services and continue to deliver high quality care, with the next stage of the campus redevelopment programme confirmed, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Government has approved $154 million in funding for the construction of a third tower ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers’ Joint Statement
    The Defence Ministers from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and United Kingdom reaffirmed their nations’ continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), and commended the achievements over the past 49 years as the FPDA moves towards its 50th Anniversary in 2021.  The Ministers recognised the FPDA’s significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding protects health of Hawke’s Bay waterways
    A joint Government and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council project will invest $4.2 million to protect local waterways, enhance biodiversity and employ local people, Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   Over two years, the Hāpara Takatū Jobs for Nature project will fence 195km of private land to exclude stock from vulnerable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Year border exception for seasonal workers in the horticulture and wine industries
    2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week while in isolation From January ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government increases support for New Zealanders to work in seasonal jobs
    The Government is offering further financial support for unemployed New Zealanders to take on seasonal work. These new incentives include: Up to $200 per week for accommodation costs $1000 incentive payment for workers who complete jobs of six weeks or longer increasing wet weather payments when people can’t work to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government receives Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mos...
    Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti has today received the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques, and will table it in Parliament on Tuesday December 8. “I know this will have been a challenging process for whānau, survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Government to declare a climate emergency
    The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today.                                       “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Call for urgent action on Pacific conservation
    A declaration on the urgency of the global biodiversity crisis and the need for immediate, transformative action in the Pacific was agreed at a pan-Pacific conference today. The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is taking place this week across the Pacific.  Minister of Conservation Kiritapu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech from the throne
    E aku hoa i te ara o te whai, Kia kotahi tā tātou takahi i te kō, ko tōku whiwhi kei tō koutou tautoko mai. Ko tāku ki a koutou, hei whakapiki manawa mōku. He horomata rangatira te mahi, e rite ai te whiwhinga a te ringatuku, me te ringakape ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Keynote address to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand conference
    Speech to the CAANZ conference - November 19, 2020 Thank you, Greg, (Greg Haddon, MC) for the welcome. I’d like to acknowledge John Cuthbertson from CAANZ, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson, former fellow MP and former Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, other guest speakers and CAANZ members. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Expert independent advisory group appointed to strengthen the future of Māori broadcasting
    A panel of seven experts are adding their support to help shape the future of Māori broadcasting, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has announced today. “Today I will meet with some of the most experienced Māori broadcasters, commentators and practitioners in the field. They have practical insights on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Wakatū Nelson regional hui on trade
    First, I want to express my thanks to Te Taumata for this hui and for all the fantastic work you are doing for Māori in the trade space. In the short time that you’ve been operating you’ve already contributed an enormous amount to the conversation, and developed impressive networks.  I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Primary Industries Summit
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the significant contribution the food and fibres sector makes to New Zealand and how this Government is supporting that effort. I’d like to start by acknowledging our co-Chairs, Terry Copeland and Mavis Mullins, my colleague, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Fast track referrals will speed up recovery and boost jobs and home building
    The Government is taking action to increase jobs, speed up the economic recovery and build houses by putting three more projects through its fast track approval process. “It’s great to see that the fast-track consenting process is working. Today we have referred a mix of potential projects that, if approved, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Papakāinga provides critically needed homes in Hastings
    A papakāinga opened today by the Minister for Māori Development the Hon Willie Jackson will provide whānau with much needed affordable rental homes in Hastings. The four home papakāinga in Waiōhiki is the first project to be completed under the ‘Hastings Place Based’ initiative. This initiative is a Government, Hastings ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand ready to host APEC virtually
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took over the leadership of APEC earlier today, when she joined leaders from the 21 APEC economies virtually for the forum’s final 2020 meeting. “We look forward to hosting a fully virtual APEC 2021 next year. While this isn’t an in-person meeting, it will be one ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Revival of Māori Horticulturists
    The rapid revival of Māori horticulture was unmistakeable at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards, with 2020 marking the first time this iconic Māori farming event was dedicated to horticulture enterprises. Congratulating finalists at the Awards, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said growing large-scale māra kai is part of Māori DNA. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Emergency benefit to help temporary visa holders
    From 1 December, people on temporary work, student or visitor visas who can’t return home and or support themselves may get an Emergency Benefit from the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. Previously, temporary visa holders in hardship because of COVID-19 have had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School sustainability projects to help boost regional economies
    Forty one schools from the Far North to Southland will receive funding for projects that will reduce schools’ emissions and save them money, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This is the second round of the Sustainability Contestable Fund, and work will begin immediately. The first round announced in April ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Farmer-led projects to improve water health in Canterbury and Otago
    More than $6 million will be spent on helping farmers improve the health of rivers, wetlands, and habitat biodiversity in Canterbury and Otago, as well as improving long-term land management practices, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Four farmer-led catchment group Jobs for Nature projects have between allocated between $176,000 and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tupu Aotearoa continues expansion to Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman & Northl...
    Pacific communities in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman and Northland will benefit from the expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme announced today by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. The programme provides sustainable employment and education pathways and will be delivered in partnership with three providers in Northland and two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New primary school and classrooms for 1,200 students in South Island
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins unveiled major school building projects across the South Island during a visit to Waimea College in Nelson today. It’s part of the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “Investments like this gives the construction industry certainty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister of Māori Development pays tribute to Rudy Taylor
      Today the Minister of Māori Development, alongside other Government Ministers and MP’s said their final farewells to Nga Puhi Leader Rudy Taylor.  “Rudy dedicated his life to the betterment of Māori, and his strong approach was always from the ground up, grassroots, sincere and unfaltering”  “Over the past few ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to attend APEC Leaders’ Summit
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and associated events virtually today and tomorrow. “In a world where we cannot travel due to COVID-19, continuing close collaboration with our regional partners is key to accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said. “There is wide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Infrastructure NZ Symposium
    Tena Koutou, Tena Koutou and thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is a critical time for New Zealand as we respond to the damage wreaked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that investment in our economic recovery is well thought through, and makes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pike River 10 Year Anniversary Commemorative Service
    Tēnei te mihi ki a tātau katoa e huihui nei i tēnei rā Ki a koutou ngā whānau o te hunga kua riro i kōnei – he mihi aroha ki a koutou Ki te hapori whānui – tēnā koutou Ki ngā tāngata whenua – tēnā koutou Ki ngā mate, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Huge investment in new and upgraded classrooms to boost construction jobs
    Around 7,500 students are set to benefit from the Government’s latest investment of $164 million to build new classrooms and upgrade schools around the country. “The election delivered a clear mandate to accelerate our economic recovery and build back better. That’s why we are prioritising construction projects in schools so more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keeping Pike River Mine promises 10 years on
    Ten years after the Pike River Mine tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives while at work, a commemorative service at Parliament has honoured them and their legacy of ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended the event, along with representatives of the Pike ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional testing to strengthen border and increase safety of workers
    New testing measures are being put in place to increase the safety of border workers and further strengthen New Zealand’s barriers against COVID-19, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “These strengthened rules – to apply to all international airports and ports – build on the mandatory testing orders we’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More public housing delivered in Auckland
    The Government’s investment in public housing is delivering more warm, dry homes with today’s official opening of 82 new apartments in New Lynn by the Housing Minister Megan Woods. The Thom Street development replaces 16 houses built in the 1940s, with brand new fit-for-purpose public housing that is in high ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Agreement advanced to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines
    The Government has confirmed an in-principle agreement to purchase up to 5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 5 million people – from Janssen Pharmaceutica, subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. “This agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will leave a conservation legacy for Waikanae awa
    Ninety-two jobs will be created to help environmental restoration in the Waikanae River catchment through $8.5 million of Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan announced today. “The new funding will give a four-year boost to the restoration of the Waikanae awa, and is specifically focussed on restoration through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Dunedin Hospital project progresses to next stage
    As the new Dunedin Hospital project progresses, the Government is changing the oversight group to provide more technical input, ensure continued local representation, and to make sure lessons learnt from Dunedin benefit other health infrastructure projects around the country. Concept design approval and the release of a tender for early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jump in apprentice and trainee numbers
    The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50 percent, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled. This comes as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • ReBuilding Nations Symposium 2020 (Infrastructure NZ Conference opening session)
    Tena koutou katoa and thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. Can I acknowledge Ngarimu Blair, Ngati Whatua, and Mayor Phil Goff for the welcome. Before I start with my substantive comments, I do want to acknowledge the hard work it has taken by everyone to ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand's biosecurity champions honoured
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has paid tribute to the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards. “These are the people and organisations who go above and beyond to protect Aotearoa from pests and disease to ensure our unique way of life is sustained for future generations,” Damien O’Connor says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago