The local government sector will voted on four issues when it gathers for its annual AGM in Auckland on Tuesday 25 July. There is a focus on litter legislation, local government funding, cat management and health in this year’s remits.
The AGM follows this year’s LGNZ Conference, when over 600 delegates from local government and its stakeholders, industry and community will gather in Auckland for the two day event. The theme of this year’s conference is Creating pathways to 2050: Liveable spaces and loveable places.
Remits are voted on in a secret ballot and if passed will become official policy and be actioned by Local Government New Zealand.
Local government will also be voting for a new LGNZ President to replace Lawrence Yule, who steps down after nine years in the role. There are two candidates for the position: Dunedin mayor Dave Cull, and Nelson mayor Rachel Reese.
The remits are outlined below:
Giving councils greater powers to combat littering
Palmerston North City Council asks that LGNZ advocates to central government to amend the Litter Act 1979 to enable local authorities to legally issue infringement notices where there is evidence of an offence.
The Council says the indiscriminate disposal of rubbish is an ongoing and increasing problem for local authorities. It says the Litter Act fails to provide councils with the appropriate regulatory tools to fulfill its objectives and enforce legislation by limiting the issue of an infringement notice to situations where a council officer observes a person littering, or has reasonable cause to believe they have just committed an infringement offence. A simple word change to remove the word “just” from the legislation would address these limitations and provide greater authority to issue infringements.
Returning a portion of GST to the district it was generated in
Proposed by Gisborne District Council, this remit asks that LGNZ request the Government use the appropriate mechanisms to enable a proportion of the 15 per cent Goods and Services Tax be returned to the regions it was generated in so that Councils can use this money to pay for the servicing of visitor infrastructure.
The Council says local government’s’ reliance on property rates has seriously constrained investment in key local infrastructure, particularly where benefits are diffuse and the cost cannot be allocated to a specific group. The proposal would be one step towards adopting a strategic and coordinated approach to investment in regional tourism growth.
National legislation to manage cats
The third remit was proposed by Dunedin City Council and asks that LGNZ lobby the Government to take legislative action as a matter of urgency to develop national legislation includes provision for cost recovery for cat management.
Throughout New Zealand councils are tasked with trying to promote responsible cat ownership and reduce their environmental impact on wildlife, including native birds and geckos. Yet, territorial authority’s powers for cats are for minimising the impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and regional councils’ powers are restricted to destruction of feral cats as pests. The remit seeks the protection of our wildlife and native species by seeking regulatory powers for cat control, including cat identification, cat de-sexing and responsible cat ownership.
Development of a Sugar Sweetened Beverages Policy
This remit asks that all councils should consider the development of a Sugar Sweetened Beverages Policy for their respective workplaces and facilities.
Proposed by Hastings District Council the remit is designed to encourage councils to model good behaviour in their communities and provide an example to other organisations. It is also designed to reduce sugar consumption of users of council facilities.
The LGNZ AGM is open to members only. Following the meeting, LGNZ will advise of the outcomes of all votes.