What a change of government means for councils

By: Blogger

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

Like most Tauranga citizens, I didn’t vote for a change of government. That said, it’s time to get over it and get on with it. With a new government, there are two things I see changing for councils and two things I think will stay the same.

Firstly, there will be a significant government intervention in housing. They plan to build 10,000 affordable homes a year by using an ‘affordable housing authority’ that’ll have some of the powers councils do.

The authority plans to use crown land for these developments but in Tauranga, the only large crown-owned block is the Tauranga race/golf course which could see them in conflict with their coalition partner for obvious reasons!

Secondly, increased government spending in the social sector will mean less pressure on councils to fund social groups that work with the disadvantaged.

Not changing is council’s relationship with Tangata Whenua. New Zealand First railed against changes to the RMA that increased the role of iwi in decision-making. However, just like their promise to hold a referendum on Maori seats and reducing MPs, it seems this ‘bottom line’ has vanished and we’ll have a referendum on legalising marijuana instead!

The challenge of funding infrastructure to provide for growth won’t change. Government is receiving a record amount of tax revenue but people don’t notice because they are taxed on a percentage basis.

Councils must invoice twice a year through a rates bill and people certainly notice that! Councils should take a percentage of GST to ease the burden on ratepayers, but I don’t see the government giving up part of that income!