Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Mike Butler: Ways to cut local govt waste
If you thought local authorities had no clue on how to cut waste, save money, reduce bureaucracy, and ultimately lower rates, you are not alone. The Taxpayers' Union has produced such a guide for local authorities titled Rate Saver Report: 101 Ways to Save Money in Local Government based on similar reports published in the United Kingdom.
Mayors Ray Wallace (Lower Hutt City) and Tim Shadbolt (Invercargill) contribute forewords that show some degree of agreement with the recommendations.
The introduction notes that New Zealand’s 78 councils make up 4 percent of gross domestic product, spend $7.5-billion per year of public money, and manage $100-billion of public assets. They’re also growing rapidly - since 1993, total rates collected by local councils have increased from $1.6-billion to over $4.5-billion – that’s a thousand dollars for every man, woman and child.
The first 20 ways include:
Paying back council debt.
Ceasing provision of free lunches and booze for councillors,
Not funding or joining chambers of commerce,
Publishing all accounts payable transactions,
Allowing the community to help,
Saving on water costs by proactively detecting leaks in the water network,
Requiring end of year reports from groups which councils fund,
Scrapping political advisors,
Abolishing youth councils and standing consultative committees,
Funding the voluntary sector through commissioning,
Not having children’s playgroups directly run by the council,
Cutting red tape so you don’t have to employ people to assist in navigating it,
Giving incentives for recycling,
Building public toilets only where alternative facilities do not exist,
Not funding “sock puppets” and “fake charities”,
Getting rid of professional sports subsidies disguised as "economic development".
Not implementing the "living wage".
Not copying central government activities.
Source Rate Saver Report: 101 ways to save money in local government. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0268/9345/files/101_Ways_web.pdf?2635
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