This week at the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union (NZTU) has predominantly been filled with drafting a Private Members Bill. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the NZTU puts significant resources into sending out information requests under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
This Act supports transparency within the various government departments and local councils of New Zealand. The legislation is key to keeping the aforementioned organisations accountable for their spending of taxpayer and ratepayer funds.
Unfortunately the Taxpayers’ Union has come up against a loophole in the legislation that makes an exception for the New Zealand Local Government Association, the overarching organisation of the local New Zealand councils. To be compliant with the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, an organisation must classify as a ‘council controlled organisation’ pursuant to the Local Government Act 2002.
This loophole exempts the New Zealand Local Government Association from being classified as a council-controlled organisation. The result is that it is not possible to make official information requests to this overarching body. The inability to seek information from the Local Government Association is a difficulty the Taxpayers’ Union has come against a multitude of times.
Consequently, I have been directed to draft options to amend the Local Government Act 2002 so that it is possible to make information requests to the New Zealand Local Government Association. If suitable, the Private Member’s Bill may be presented to parliament later in the year.
I spent the weekend just gone with my housemates in Wellington; it was nice to relax and recuperate for the busy week ahead. We spent Friday and Saturday nights attending their extended friend’s house parties, and on Saturday we made the most of the weather, spending the afternoon at Lyall Bay. We finished off a fun weekend with a Sunday dinner at the flat, complete with steak from the farm in Taranaki we visited last weekend.