Although local authorities are low on the list in terms of the total national debt, that debt is expected to escalate over the next decade as deferred repairs and replacements of infrastructure can no longer be ignored. Using the overdraft or revolving credit tool, the Reserve Bank can make interest-free money available to local bodies. Established infrastructure can be properly maintained and new projects undertaken when local bodies have access to interest-free loans.
The Democrats for Social Credit Party advocates:
• Local and participatory democracy through de-centralisation of government and strong community identity.
• A Single Transferable Vote system for local body and general elections, resourced adequately to ensure sophisticated and reliable counting systems are in place.
• A strict spending limit for all candidates, national or local, set from time to time by the Electoral Commission.
• The abolition of GST on rates.
• No further sale of assets or public utilities, other than through a binding citizens referendum.
• Local energy projects that produce alternative renewable fuel.
• Local processing of primary agricultural products, to enhance job opportunities.
Local bodies will not have to choose between urgent needs, or put off the establishment of, or improvements to, community assets such as parks, libraries, theatres or sports centres.
Further advantages: Rates income can be liberated to retire existing interest-bearing debt. Rates levels could go down without reducing council services.
Local community groups could access better funding support, and special projects such as cycle lanes, micro-generators and other green initiatives will be possible.
Rather than narrowing the focus of local authorities because of budget constraints, or the trend of amalgamation that erodes real democracy for the sake of saving money, a new era of holistic involvement by local councils is envisaged. This might include taking responsibility for pensioner housing, participation in sustainable community initiatives, supporting arts and culture with purpose-built venues and marketing, and closer involvement in local school projects or business ventures.
Chris Leitch, Deputy Leader, Local Govt Spokesman
Email: email@example.com Mob 021 922 098
Published: March 2014