Mayor welcomes bill

by Mike Isle

Selwyn’s mayor Sam Broughton is welcoming changes to the Local Government Act, which puts into law councils’ responsibility to lift the wellbeing of their communities.

The Local Government (Community Wellbeing) Amendment bill passed its third and final reading in parliament last week.

It restates and affirms into the Local Government Act the four aspects of wellbeing: social, economic, environmental and cultural.

The bill requires local government to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of communities and restores territorial authorities’ power to collect development contributions for any public amenities needed as a consequence of development.

Mayor Broughton said he is delighted to see the government recognise the importance of wellbeing, particularly with its local focus. “Our country is far too centralised with an out-of-balance power structure focussed in Wellington that is unable to be flexible to local needs and opportunities.

New Zealand-wide solutions to Auckland problems don’t often fit our Canterbury situation, and I imagine the opposite is also true.

“Our council has always known this and provided facilities and events that promote wellbeing. We will continue to do this and welcome the government to join us into the future.

“The government needs to look at other ways that local government can be empowered to better serve our communities with fit for purpose, cost-effective and local solutions,” Broughton said.

The bill now goes to the Governor-General for royal assent before being passed into law.