NZ and Australian councils face similar battles

By Lilia Guan
Local government president Mayor Yule told Government News  the issues facing NZ and Australian councils were similar.
“Both seek to have a better and more understood relationship with central government and state government in Australia,” he said.
According to the mayor, NZ councils have been dramatically hit by the recession and the Christchurch earthquakes which put more “pressure to find economic efficiencies”.
“With the recession the biggest issues facing local councils has been providing relevant services efficiently,” he said.
“There’re a lot of high expectations with the community becoming a lot more sophisticated than 20 years ago.”
The mayor said the electronic age, computers and other new communications tools meant people put a value on being provided with these services, on top of basic services like roads by the local government.
“These services come at a massive cost to councils and puts a lot of pressure on them,” he said.
Australia was devastated by floods during the first half of the year NZ was hit by two earthquakes.
Mayor Yule said the impact of the earthquakes has had a direct impact on councils throughout the country.
“For a start there’ll be a shift in resources with all construction efforts focused on the city of Christchurch, which was devastated by an earthquake in early February,” he said.
“On top of that while I was at the conference the minister for local government has changed.
“This has direct effect on councils as it will mean a shift direction and strategy.”

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