Threat to local involvement in road management

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2016-08-01T10:28:00 Pacific/Auckland

RUAPEHU’S AWARD WINNING APPROACH TO LAND TRANSPORT UNDER THREAT

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron has said that he was extremely concerned that the proposed Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill could dismantle Ruapehu’s award winning approach to managing its Land Transport activity with adverse effects on our rural communities.

“Local Government Minister Hon. Peseta Sam Lotu-liga has highlighted land transport as a target of the new legislation that could see a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) take over its management from a local council.”

“Ruapehu’s rural communities see the development and maintenance of the District’s transport infrastructure as the most critical function of Council in ensuring their viability and sustainability.”

“In response Ruapehu has worked closely with rural communities to bring them in as a partner at the front of the land transport decision making process and provide opportunities for farmers as local road maintenance contractors.”

“The Amendment Bill is pushing for aggregation in the land transport space and would invariably mean the bundling of works and services under longer term contracts to a lesser number of larger suppliers.”

“This fly’s in the face of our ‘community at the front’ approach.”

“When Ruapehu last tendered for land transport services we did the exact opposite and unbundled our contract which provided an opportunity for smaller local contractors to bid for the work and for rural communities to benefit.”

“Ultimately the ‘lion’s share’ of our new land transport services contract was awarded to local contractors.”

“This approach to procurement has allowed Ruapehu to develop capability and resilience in rural communities.”

“Providing opportunities for local farmers adds to their financial viability, enhances local skills and capabilities creating able farmers who are also capable contractors.”

“It also helps to maintain rural communities by maintaining school roles, active local sports clubs and social networks as well as helping to ensure that there is sufficient capability in remote community resources to deliver swift responses to emergency and civil defence events.”

“This approach supports both Ruapehu’s strategic objectives and those of the government’s growth agenda for building a more productive, competitive NZ Inc.,” he said.

“If the Amendment Bill proceeds as is a CCO located out of the District could easily dismantle these gains and the benefits they deliver to Ruapehu, our rural communities and NZ.”

Mayor Cameron noted that councils recognized that there are perception issues around our performance, however as a sector we are committed to resolving these in a constructive manner in partnership with our communities and government.

“The Minister has stated that the Amendment Bill is designed to encourage shared services and efficiencies however councils are already aggressively seeking these outcomes.”

“Ruapehu is involved with 30 shared service arrangements and is proactively seeking others wherever they best serve the needs of our communities,” he said.

“Ruapehu is also one of the 21 Foundation Councils in the Local Government NZ (LGNZ) Excellence Programme that aims to drive a culture of excellence and continuous improvement in council and sector performance and provide an independent measure of that performance.”

“We believe as a sector that legislation such as the proposed Amendment Bill are a distraction and take focus and energy away from working collectively to find fit for purpose solutions.”

“Bigger is not always better and one size does not fit all.”

*End*

Page reviewed: 01 Aug 2016 10:28am