Survey Supports Consultation On Roads

  • Tony Ryall
Local Government

A recent survey of local councils has revealed that almost forty per cent of the country's local government politicians are newly elected, Minister of Local Government Tony Ryall said at a meeting with local government CEOs today in Wellington.

"The provisional results of the telephone survey, conducted by officials in the Department of Internal Affairs, indicates that some 411 out of 1092 local and regional councillors are newly elected," Mr Ryall said.

"The magnitude of this turnover clearly supports the decision of Transport Minister Maurice Williamson to undertake further consultation with the local government sector over critical long-term plans to revamp the management of our roading network.

"We have worked closely with Local Government NZ to bring the plans to where they are now.

"The roading plans are part of a most open process. In early December we will be publishing all the working documents -- all the options and issues will be out there for New Zealanders to consider.

"I think you will then see the direction the Government and the Local Government New Zealand working group are heading towards.

"Local bodies own half of New Zealand's roading network and will continue to do so. It's extremely important that the newly elected councillors have the opportunity to consider what is proposed and have the opportunity to comment.

"This view is supported across the local government sector. In my own region, the Environment Bay of Plenty Chairman, John Keaney, has said that the plans are complex and will affect everyone in New Zealand. The extended consultation period is critical, allowing more time to debate and explain the background for alternatives. The discussion process will allow people more time to analyse the Government proposals and allow for better consultation and input, he says."

Mr Ryall said that it had never been the Government's intention to rush the roading proposals. "Even if the plans were finalised now, we would still be looking at implementation after November next year," he said.

The final results of the survey of local government elected members will be available within the next few weeks when all local authority election returns have been received and analysed by the Department of Internal Affairs.