Press releases: archive 2006

8 November 2006

Labour lets 84% of Ngawha prisoners do nothing

The Government is letting 84% of prisoners at Ngawha do nothing meaningful while in prison, says National Party MP John Carter.

“Figures released by the Corrections Minister, Damien O’Connor, show that for the last year, only 52 of the 333 prisoners at Ngawha were involved in inmate employment programmes,” says John Carter.

“This compares to the shocking national average of 81% of prisoners not doing any work while in prison.

“These figures are an appalling indictment on this Government’s approach to prisoner rehabilitation and preparing them for release.

“They have cut funding by 27% since 2001/02, from $46.5 million to $34 million.

“In May Damien O’Connor announced a strategy that he said would help in ‘significantly increasing the number of prisoners in work and training’.

“But a week later this was shown to be nothing more than window dressing when the Budget increased funding for prisoner employment by a measly $336,000 – up 1%.

“If Damien O’Connor had not allowed the construction budget to blow out by $490 million there would have been more than a miserable $33,000 extra to spend on effective rehabilitation and work schemes.

“He seems happier to spend $11 million on landscaping four new prisons and allow prisoners to sit around playing Playstations and Xboxes on their flat-screen TVs than he is about helping them get better prepared for when they are released.

“Prisoners should do meaningful work, training or study while they are in prisons, and I imagine the public would agree.”

2 November 2006

Local Government

Rates inquiry to cost at least $8,300 a day

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says the independent inquiry into rates had better come up with ways to reduce rates bills given that it’s costing the taxpayer at least $8,300 a day.

“A rough back-of-the-envelope calculation makes for interesting reading.”

  • The rates inquiry is due to report on July 31, or in nine months
  • There are approx 180 working days in nine months
  • At a total cost of $1.5 million for the inquiry, that means it will cost taxpayers a total of $8,300 a day, or $2,700 for each of the three experts (before taking into account other costs like travel, etc).

Mr Carter says that is a high price to pay for Labour to avoid the embarrassment of being rolled in a select committee inquiry.

“Yet, one of the single biggest issues in local government does not appear to be in line for any attention at all with this inquiry. That is the question about which activities ratepayers believe their local councils should be involved in.”

1 November 2006

Local Government

Public get only limited voice on rates inquiry

“New Zealand First and Labour have conspired to limit public participation in the rates inquiry,” says National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter.

“Ratepayers will want to be heard. Mark Burton should be up front and say whether they’ll get that chance in person, or whether they’ll only be able to provide written submissions.

“They’re only allowing limited participation from the ratepaying public. That is a great disappointment.”

Mr Carter notes that terms of reference for the ‘urgent’ independent inquiry have languished on the back-burner since August. Today the public have been told it’ll cost $1.5 million and won’t report back ‘til the middle of next year.

“Labour won’t be making any significant changes to rates before the next election, that much is now clear.

“Nor does the inquiry pose the fundamental question about which activities ratepayers believe their local councils should be involved in.

“After saying he’d work with other parties to achieve terms of reference that everyone was happy with, the Minister consulted National only once – about four weeks ago. These terms or reference are poorer for it.”

31 October 2006

Local Government

Rates inquiry: Just get on with it, Labour

National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter, expects the terms of reference for Labour’s rates inquiry to cover the burden imposed on councils through dozens of pieces of legislation passed over the past seven years.

“I understand that the inquiry’s terms of reference went through Cabinet yesterday and were to be put before Labour’s Caucus this morning.

“We have waited weeks and weeks for the terms of reference following Labour’s surprise announcement of an inquiry in August.

“The ratepayers of New Zealand expect the Labour Government to just get on with it.

“So far the Minister, Mark Burton, has shown none of the urgency that long-suffering ratepayers would expect if he was genuinely concerned about their plight.

“National expects Labour’s inquiry to focus on the 67 pieces of legislation that have been passed during its time in power, all of which have imposed extra costs on local government – and therefore ratepayers.

“National also expects that the public will have the chance to make submissions to the inquiry.

“If Labour fails to make the grade with its inquiry, ratepayers should know that National - with the support of the Greens - still have the option of forcing a parliamentary inquiry through the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

“It remains to be seen whether Labour’s inquiry is up to the task or not.”

5 October 2006

Civil Defence

Informal poll should worry Barker

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Rick Barker should be worried by the results of an informal internet poll that asked about confidence in Civil Defence.

"Only 5.4% of people were prepared to say that they were very confident in Civil Defence's ability to handle a disaster, while the majority (53.9%) said they were not confident at all."

The internet poll featured on the Stuff website this week, after revelations in official documents of serious issues in the aftermath of Exercise Pacific Wave during May.

"Mr Barker did not help confidence in his department when he tried to blame the BBC for the botched handling of the tsunami false alarm, or when he wrongly claimed the success of the exercise in May had put the earlier problems to bed."

Mr Carter says Labour's stubborn refusal to accept criticism of its emergency management plan is a classic symptom of an arrogant third-term Government which refuses to accept any view other than its own.

"What Mr Barker's given us instead is a pricey advertising campaign, a new website and a whole lot of hot air. The slump in confidence should be viewed as a serious indictment on him - as a guardian of community safety - in the event of a tragedy.

"The only way it could get worse for Mr Barker is if disaster does strike - and he is caught napping again," says Mr Carter.

2 October 2006

Civil Defence

Thanks for the spin - but why two stories?

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Rick Barker’s completely failed to give any explanation about the contradictory comments made after Exercise Pacific Wave in May.

“Stop your waffle and answer the question Mr Barker. Why did your department say Exercise Pacific Wave was a roaring success in May, yet official documents catalogue a range of serious issues with the handling of that exercise?”

Mr Carter suspects the Minister has been trying to put some distance between the appalling handling of the tsunami false alarm, and the bad news from Exercise Pacific Wave.

“The Minister knows like I do, that back in May anything other than a success story from the exercise would have compounded the embarrassment caused by the botched handling of the tsunami false alarm days earlier.

“The Minister still needs to explain why his department said the ‘exercise shows that New Zealand can be confident that the arrangements in place are robust and our procedures worked well ’in May, while official papers say response times may have been lengthened, the public were given ‘mixed messages’, and staff shortages posed an ‘unacceptably high’ risk.

“Surely both statements can’t be right.”

2 October 2006

Civil Defence

Was Pacific Wave successful or not?

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker needs to be asking questions of his department after contradictory statements over Exercise Pacific Wave.

“Mr Barker used the so-called success of this exercise to support his view that all was well in his department, despite the botched handling of the tsunami false alarm days earlier. Given that, new reports today do require his explanation.”

The Dominion Post has obtained official documents relating to Exercise Pacific Wave which say response times may have been lengthened, the public were given ‘mixed messages’, and staff shortages posed an ‘unacceptably high’ risk.

Yet on May 18, Mr Barker’s department issued a statement saying ‘today's exercise shows that New Zealand can be confident that the arrangements in place are robust and our procedures worked well’.

“There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between these two reports, and perhaps Mr Barker might like to clarify.”

Mr Carter says Civil Defence has been dogged by more than its fair share of problems under Mr Barker’s watch.

“Mr Barker absolutely rejected the findings in a damning report on Civil Defence by Chen and Palmer, and he was adamant that the emergency management plan would not be reviewed for another two years.

“No doubt the public of New Zealand should be hoping there are no disasters before then,” says Mr Carter.

18 September 2006

Local Government

Farcical ditching of Auck plan shows need for bill

The ditching of the week-old plan for one greater council for Auckland shows the need for legislation that will let Aucklanders decide for themselves whether the current local government structure is right for the city, says Helensville MP John Key.

Mr Key has a bill in the Member's ballot which establishes a taskforce to develop a plan to reform local government in greater Auckland. The proposal would be put to a referendum during the 2007 local body elections.

"This bill is about delivering a world-class local government structure for Auckland," says Mr Key. "The need for such reform is urgent and Labour's half-hearted attempts to address chaos in things like transport have proven to be a flop.

"The Prime Minister fronted a meeting with some Auckland mayors recently, but the ditching of the plan for one greater council when it was just a week old is unbelievable.

"It shows that the mayors seem incapable of getting together and sorting out their differences for the good of the wider Auckland region.

"That surely means it's time for a local government structure that is decided by the city's residents through my proposal for a referendum.

"It is critical for New Zealand that Auckland has the world-class infrastructure and services of cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane so it can attract and keep businesses and skilled workers. It is critical for New Zealand that Auckland is successful."

National's Local Government spokesman, John Carter, says the bill shows that National has a willingness to engage with local communities and is a blueprint for consultation on local government reform.

"It just shows how farcical the whole situation was. It was all about political manoeuvring by the Prime Minister to shift focus away from their pledge card and Field controversies and onto anything else.

"Ratepayers would welcome the opportunity to learn more about the pros and cons of merging - and a chance to vote on any proposed structure."

7 September 2006

Local Government

Bill would put Auckland local govt structure to vote

A Member's Bill in the name of Helensville MP John Key would let Aucklanders decide whether the current local government structure is right for the city.

The bill, which goes into the Members' ballot today, establishes a taskforce that would develop a plan to reform local government in greater Auckland. The proposal would be put to a referendum during the 2007 local body elections.

"This bill is about delivering a world-class local government structure for Auckland," says Mr Key.

"It is critical for New Zealand that Auckland has the world-class infrastructure and services of cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane so it can attract and keep businesses and skilled workers. And it is critical for New Zealand that Auckland is successful.

"The need for local government reform in Auckland is urgent, and National has taken the bull by the horns with this legislation.

"Labour's half-hearted attempts to address chaos in transport through its Auckland Regional Transport Authority have proven to be a flop. This bill sets out to address those issues," says Mr Key.

National's Local Government spokesman, John Carter, says the bill shows that National has a willingness to engage with local communities, who know best about the solutions.

"It is a blueprint for consultation on local government reform.

"Rather than secret mayoral meetings about the future shape of Auckland's local government structure, ratepayers would welcome the opportunity to learn more about the pros and cons of merging - and a chance to vote on any proposed structure."

4 September 2006

Local Government

Rising numbers of Sickness and Invalid’s beneficiaries

“The number of people in Dargaville, Kaikohe, Kaitaia and Kerikeri receiving Sickness or Invalid’s Benefit has risen over the past five years despite the Government’s claim that it is tackling the number of beneficiaries,” says John Carter MP for Northland.

“In June 2001 there were 882 claiming Sickness Benefit in Dargaville, Kaikohe, Kaitaia and Kerikeri which had risen to 1242 by June 2006.

“Over the same period, the number of people receiving Invalid’s Benefit in Dargaville, Kaikohe, Kaitaia and Kerikeri grew from 1405 in June 2001 to 1675 in June 2006.

“Many of these people are unable to work, but some of them will be capable of working part-time. The Government’s efforts to rehabilitate Sickness and Invalid’s beneficiaries back into work has been farcical. The $2.7 million PATHS programme has managed to get only 0.1% of Sickness and Invalid’s beneficiaries off welfare into work at a cost of $18,000 per beneficiary. This is hugely disappointing,” said John Carter MP for Northland.

“We should not lose sight of the fact that the welfare state is an important safety net. But this Labour Government seems to have forgotten about mutual obligations and the values of personal responsibility and self-reliance which have been the essence of the Kiwi character.”

30 August 2006

Local Government

Good on ya Timaru DC!

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter is calling on other local authorities to follow Timaru’s lead, and send a strong message that they won’t stand for more costly bureaucratic buck-passing.

“National has identified at least 67 Labour policy changes which have loaded costs on to rates. On behalf of ratepayers I’m delighted that the Timaru District Council has sent the Government a bill for the latest costs imposed on them.”

Mr Carter is commenting on the Timaru District Council’s decision to send a $25,000 bill to Labour for the cost of administering the expanded rates rebate scheme.

The council is employing six extra staff for six weeks to process the applications.

“Wanganui District Council estimates it costs ratepayers $50,000 every time central Government changes direction, while Wellington’s Kerry Pendergast says the extra costs passed on to ratepayer through law changes has added millions to rate demands.”

Meanwhile, Mr Carter says National is still waiting to find out whether it will be consulted on the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry into rates.

“I’ve heard unofficially that Labour has no plan to speak to the major Opposition party about this serious issue. That further fuels suspicion that Labour is preparing a whitewash inquiry with narrow terms of reference to spare its embarrassment.”

Mr Carter is waiting to see the fine print of Labour’s co-called independent inquiry before deciding whether he will drop his efforts to gain a select committee probe.

“Labour should consider itself on notice. Ratepayers deserve much more than a sham inquiry, with limited powers and narrow terms of reference.”

Mr Carter says he also wants to know whether individual members of the public will be invited to feed into the independent inquiry, as they would have had that chance through the open select committee process.

“It would be an absolute travesty if the homeowners and businesses that are facing crippling rates increases aren’t asked to contribute.

“National was told last week that some businesses are facing rate increases of more than 100%. It won’t be long before those costs are passed on to customers, investment is delayed and jobs are lost,” says Mr Carter.

24 August 2006

Local Government

Labour on notice over rates

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says he remains hugely cynical about Labour’s so-called independent inquiry into rating issues.

“Labour should consider itself on notice. Ratepayers deserve much more than a sham inquiry, with limited powers and narrow terms of reference.”

Mr Carter says he is pleased that his request for an inquiry by the select committee that deals with local government will stay on that committee’s agenda.

“I think the Greens are wise to reserve their position until after they see what Labour are cooking up.”

Mr Carter says he also wants to know whether individual members of the public will be invited to feed into the independent inquiry, as they would have had that chance through the open select committee process.

“It would be an absolute travesty if the homeowners and businesses that are facing crippling rates increases aren’t asked to contribute.”

Mr Carter says National expects a thorough ‘independent inquiry’ would look at the impact of central government fiddling on local government.

“For instance, it’s costing District Councils like Wanganui about $50,000 every time Labour changes its policy. Wellington City Council has identified millions of dollars that have been loaded on to ratepayers by this Labour Government.

“Unless the inquiry takes a good hard look at that buck-passing then it will have failed.”

Mr Carter says Mark Burton now has an opportunity to restore some public faith in ‘independent’ inquiries, following the nine-month Phillip Field fiasco.

“The jury’s out on this one. Let’s see the detail.”

22 August 2006

Local Government

National & Greens lock down rates inquiry

“National and the Greens have tonight agreed on the draft terms of reference for a wide ranging review of rates to be conducted by the Local Government select committee,” says National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter.

“Even without New Zealand First’s support for Rodney Hide’s rates capping bill, we now have the numbers to force a desperately needed inquiry into what’s going wrong with our rating system.

“This is a significant victory for the ratepayers of New Zealand and I wish to thank the Green Party for their support and co-operation as we seek public feedback on the crippling rates rises throughout New Zealand.”

The Local Government Select Committee has nine members, four from Labour, four from National and one from the Greens.

“In light of the Prime Minister’s statements today, we expect that when the item comes up on the agenda under my name on Thursday, the vote will be unanimous.”

National has identified at least 67 Labour law changes which have loaded costs onto ratepayers.

“That bureaucratic buck-passing is one of the main issues that the inquiry will consider,” says Mr Carter.

22 August 2006

Local Government

Clark can put rates probe on agenda tomorrow

“If Helen Clark’s new found enthusiasm for a wider inquiry into rates is to be taken at face value, then Labour should vote for Rodney Hide’s rates capping bill tomorrow,” says National’s Local Government spokesman John Carter.

“This is a matter of urgency for home owners and businesses throughout New Zealand. The rates capping bill, while flawed, is the perfect vehicle for a wider look at what’s going wrong.”

“Helen Clark’s musings today were no doubt aimed at taking some of the heat off New Zealand First, which is under fire for opposing Parliament’s first live opportunity for a select committee to consider the rates issue.

“But if Labour did the right thing and supported Mr Hide’s bill, the inquiry could start almost immediately.”

Mr Carter says National would be suspicious about any terms of reference that Ms Clark had a hand in.

“She’s got a history of producing narrow terms of reference designed to blur the lines and prevent real accountability. The Noel Ingram report is a case in point.”

Mr Carter says National would expect to be consulted on the terms of reference.

22 August 2006

Local Government

Winston betrays elderly with rates refusal

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter is disappointed that Winston Peters appears ready to betray his elderly supporters for the sake of maintaining his “lapdog” status with the Labour Party.

“Mr Peters says he is concerned by the high rate increases being passed on to home owners - but he is refusing to give a Parliamentary select committee the opportunity to discuss what is going wrong.

“He is grandstanding because of a bitter personal feud with the Act Party and Rodney Hide. It is short-sighted and petty,” says Mr Carter.

National will support Rodney Hide’s rates capping bill past its first reading tomorrow because “it provides Parliament with the first live opportunity to discuss crippling rate rises in a wider context. However, National agrees the bill has serious flaws.”

Mr Carter says New Zealand First knows its call for a Commission of Inquiry into rates is pointless.

“Having made at least 67 law changes that have loaded costs on to ratepayers, the last thing Winston’s Labour mates want to do is put that buck-passing on the table for discussion.”

Mr Carter says there would be no shame for New Zealand First if it changed its position.

“Greypower wouldn’t complain, nor would ratepayers facing extraordinary increases throughout the country. This is Mr Peters big chance to show that New Zealand First hasn’t abandoned all its principles in pursuit of the baubles of office,” says Mr Carter.

17 August 2006

Local Government

NZ First must support rates bill

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says New Zealand First must support Rodney Hide’s rates bill to select committee.

“National will support the bill past its first reading. We believe Parliament, through the select committee, should take the earliest opportunity to look at the wider issues around crippling rates rises around the country. This bill happens to be that opportunity.”

Mr Carter says National would be cautious about supporting any changes that might result in more buck passing between central and local Government.

“National has identified at least 67 law changes by the Labour Government which have led to increased costs for councils. Inevitably it’s the ratepayer that is picking up that cost.

”We won’t be supporting anything that adds to the problem.”

Mr Carter says ratepayers, particularly in Auckland, are also fed up with much of the waste that’s being identified within council operations.

“Seances? Tarot card readings? Give us a break!”

14 August 2006

Local Government

C’mon Dick, stop the excesses

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says there’s absolutely no way Auckland City ratepayers should be funding séances and international phone calls to the Congo.

“If anything will cause a crisis of confidence in local Government, it’s precisely these sorts of bizarre extravagances at the ratepayer expense.

“Labour, which gave councils sweeping new powers of general competence, needs to explain to the struggling Auckland ratepayer why they are now paying for things like tarot card readings and séances.

“Yes, they are small examples, worth less than $5,000, but they are indicative of the wider issue about what councils should and shouldn’t be dabbling in.”

Auckland ratepayers have been clobbered with a 44% rate increase since October 2004, with plans for a mammoth 135% rise over the next decade.

“Tell the pensioner living at home why they’re paying for members of the Congolese community to call the Congo to speak with candidates in elections there.

“Tell the family struggling to keep warm in the face of rising power bills that their rates are paying for such nonsense. Is this really what rates are for?

“Before we start tackling the problems in the rating system itself, ratepayers need to make it clear to their central Government leaders what it is they expect councils to be involved in.

“Weeding out the waste is the first logical step, followed closely by a commitment from Labour that it will stop passing the buck and loading extra costs onto ratepayers.”

National has identified at least 67 Labour policy changes which have added costs to rate bills.

8 August 2006

Carter delighted HMNZS Canterbury is coming north

ational Party MP for Northland John Carter says it is fantastic the HMNZS Canterbury is coming north.

The HMNZS Canterbury was decommissioned earlier this year after 34 years of service.

“I am delighted to have been involved in this project. Northland will be a wonderful final home for the Canterbury.

“This is an example of Northland MPs working together regardless of party affiliations. We have shown we can make a difference for the benefit of the people of Northland.

“Congratulations to all the Northlanders involved, including the Far North District Council.

“And I particularly want to thank Dover Samuels for his participation,” says Mr Carter.

27 July 2006

Local Government

Local Government rises to National Party challenge

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter is heaping praise on Local Government New Zealand for “rising to the National Party challenge for them to quantify Labour Government buck-passing”.

Mr Carter is commenting in the wake of news today that LGNZ plans to hire independent auditors to estimate the costs of the 67 laws passed by Labour which have had a direct or indirect impact on rates.

“Ratepayers have had an absolute gutful of the creeping compliance costs forced on them.

“Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws has estimated it costs his council a minimum of $50,000 every time the Government changes policy. Wellington’s Kerry Prendergast has put a multi-million dollar price tag on costs passed down to ratepayers by Labour.”

Mr Carter says before the debate can move on to rating methods, the public need to be included in a debate about what work councils should be engaged in.

“There is considerable unease throughout the country about some of the spending decisions being made by local authorities. What do we now consider to be core council business, and how many extras should ratepayers be funding?”

26 July 2006

Local Government

Ratepayers carry cost of Government buck-passing

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter has released a list of 67 laws passed by Labour that have had an impact, either directly or indirectly, on rates.

“More and more local councils are being forced to absorb the costs of Labour’s legislation. Councils have become pseudo tax collectors.

“Each and every year in office, Labour has passed around 10 laws that impose new costs on ratepayers.

“There are dozens of laws which Labour has passed without thinking about how they hurt ratepayers, especially those on fixed incomes,” says Mr Carter.

The list includes:

  1. The No. 1 culprit is the RMA which Labour has amended nine times. The fine print forces rural councils to supply top quality drinking water to all properties. In other words, farm animals may get better drinking water - but all ratepayers will have to pay for it. There are also 14 air quality standards for councils to regulate and administer under the RMA.
  2. Building Act 2004. Created massive costs and delays in the issuing of building consents. Many councils are struggling to attract (and retain) the numbers of staff required to process building consents and the staff they do have are being buried under a mountain of red tape - meaning additional delays and costs for ratepayers.
  3. Local Government Act 2002. Gave councils extra responsibilities in the areas of community and social wellbeing. These new requirements have created additional costs for all councils, and even Local Government New Zealand has said that they have not been matched by a corresponding increase in resources. An example of costs here are the audit requirements for LTCCPs, where councils have to pay auditors tens of thousands of ratepayers' dollars to check that they are consulting their communities. Many of the auditors were brought in from the UK to audit NZ communities they know nothing about.

Mr Carter says nanny state bureaucracy is tying our councils in costly red tape.

“It’s time local government started detailing for ratepayers precisely how many extra costs Labour’s lumbered them with,” says Mr Carter.

17 July 2006

Local Government

Labour not focused on waste management

Comments that Labour 'continues to focus on effective and pragmatic approaches to managing waste in New Zealand' are pure rubbish, say National MPs Nick Smith and John Carter.

The comments are in a recent report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment called 'Changing Behaviour: Economic Instruments in the Management of Waste'."

The report criticises the lack of progress in obtaining national waste data deemed 'essential for designing effective policy', despite Labour being aware of the shortfall since at least 1999.

"In lieu of that 'effective policy', we have Labour supporting the Green Party's mad Waste Minimisation Bill," says Mr Carter, National's Local Government spokesman. "

"As it stands, this bill will do little other than ratchet up local rates and close down local businesses. In particular, the requirement on every single business and organisation to develop a waste minimisation plan is ludicrous.

"This would require councils to approve hundreds of thousands of plans," says Mr Carter.

Dr Smith, National's Environment spokesman, says the bill is typical Greens sledgehammer legislation that looks feelgood but is in fact total madness and a compliance cost nightmare.

He says the commissioner's report does back up National's view that prescriptive nanny-state regulation is simply not the way to go.

The two spokesmen say the Labour Government should amend faulty parts of the Local Government Act so councils have more choice about how to handle waste issues, rather than fostering a culture of "compliance cost creep".

17 July 2006

Local Government

More hot air from Helen on rates

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says ratepayers should not be expected to “swallow more hot air from Helen Clark” on the “going nowhere review” of council funding.

“The biggest hold-up in this process has been at Internal Affairs, which did absolutely nothing while Mark Burton took months to sign off the terms of reference for the project.

“It was originally envisaged that the funding project would be done by December last year. This deadline has been continually pushed back ever since, and now we’re looking at September this year at the earliest.

“This is almost a year later than was originally planned.

“This is just more of the same tired rhetoric from a Labour Government that has become politically paralysed. How long do we have to hear that the issue of rates ‘is being looked at’ before the Government delivers on its long-awaited report?

“Besides, Helen Clark is only looking at half of the equation. If Labour was really serious about helping out struggling ratepayers it would have been more cautious with its approach to passing laws which lead to increased costs at local authority level.

“Labour has rubbed salt into open wounds with scores of new laws which are driving up rates across the country. It is rich hypocrisy after seven years for Helen Clark to claim she suddenly cares,” says Mr Carter.

13 July 2006

Local Government

Still more cash for long-term community plans

Taxpayer money is being added to the pile of cash being wasted on the auditing of long-term council community plans, says National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter.

Under the Local Government Act 2002, all councils are required to produce a plan outlining work programmes for the next 10 years to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of their communities.

"It now turns out that the difference between what auditors were quoting councils for the audits and what councils are actually being billed will be funded by central government,” says Mr Carter.

"The Auditor-General made the decision to open taxpayers’ wallets and pour even more money down the drain on these senseless audits.”

The Auditor-General's office has the job, under law, of auditing the plans. It has contracted out this work to outside auditors - including some from the United Kingdom.

"But the auditors have come back and billed councils for far more - in some cases double what they first quoted,” says Mr Carter.

"That means long-suffering taxpayers will pick up the tab.

"The auditing exercise has been a waste of $3-4 million of ratepayers’ money now we find another $3-4 million bill to taxpayers.”

12 July 2006

Civil Defence

Nats congratulate Barker on temporary Ngaturi Bridge

National MPs Chester Borrows and John Carter have thanked and congratulated Civil Defence Minister Rock Barker for giving the go-ahead for a temporary replacement for the Ngaturi Bridge.

The bridge, which was washed out by last week’s floods, has left the Mangamahu community isolated.

Mr Borrows, who is the local MP, says it’s a huge relief that a temporary bridge is to be erected.

“The Mangamahu community would be devastated by prolonged isolation. The community will be breathing a sigh of relief tonight.”

“Given that I have been critical of the Minister for the mistakes he has made with this portfolio, it’s a nice change to have the opportunity to congratulate him on getting something right,” says Mr Carter, who is National’s Civil Defence spokesman.

“It’s good to see him step up to the mark. I can only hope it’s a sign of things to come.”

Mr Borrows says though he’s thrilled that the temporary bridge will be built, it is only a temporary measure and he looks forward to the Government announcing something more permanent in due course.

12 July 2006

Civil Defence

Carter welcomes new Civil Defence chief

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter has welcomed the appointment of new Civil Defence chief John Hamilton, but warns he has a tough road ahead to rebuild public confidence in the organisation.

“Recent emergencies from the tsunami-that-wasn’t to snow storms in the South Island, as well as a number of botched test runs, have shown that Civil Defence suffers a litany of serious organisational problems.

"There is a serious lack of co-ordination between national headquarters and civil defence at local government level.

"I am also aware that the voluntary network that is meant to be in place to support civil defence at local government level does not exist in most cases, and is severely understaffed where it does exist.

“What makes the situation worse is the bumbling Minister at the helm.

“Civil Defence needs a new broom. I look forward to working with John Hamilton to ensure the organisation’s huge problems are fixed before it’s too late and disaster strikes,” says Mr Carter.

7 July 2006

Local Government

Labour’s muddled police priorities

The Labour Government has been caught out by revelations of so-called police ‘targets’ for the issuing of traffic tickets.

Many of us have questioned whether policing of our roads is designed to maximise ticket writing rather than traffic safety. An internal police memo confirms our worst suspicions.

The leaked “Central District Highway Tasking Sheet” clearly shows that traffic police have ticket targets and competitions, and makes it clear that police are sending traffic patrols to high traffic flow areas rather than accident black spots.

The Government has previously argued that ticket targets don’t exist but this memo proves this is simply not the case.

The National Party believes scarce police resources should be allocated according to where they’ll do the most good – not where they’ll collect the most revenue.

We support traffic police concentrating on safety, but don’t believe ramping up the number of tickets issued is the key to improving safety on our roads.

A subsequent directive from the Commissioner of Police, Howard Board, has sent out even more confusing signals. The memo clearly states that it is permissible for police to set ticket targets on a district and group level, yet simultaneously denies that these targets amount to quotas.

New Zealanders will be rightly irritated by these semantic games because they know that in effect, a ‘target’ is the same as a ‘quota’.

The emphasis of policing needs to be firmly on violent crime, not gathering revenue. It’s a matter of priorities, and ticket-quotas send a very bad signal about what those priorities are under Labour.

2 July 2006

Local Government

Average rates rise nearly three times inflation rate

A random snapshot of 29 local bodies nationwide reveals average rates hikes of nearly three times the rate of inflation.

“The Labour Government continues to heap new costs and legislative responsibilities onto councils without a second thought for the ratepayers at the sharp end of the changes,” says National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter.

A snapshot of 29 territorial authorities shows an average rates rise this year of about 8.39%. The North Island councils National approached are expecting an average 7.84% increase, and in the South Island the figure is 10.12%.

“There are also some long term council priorities being set, and spending decisions being made that will have lasting implications.

“For instance, Whangarei has confirmed a 7% increase for each of the next 10 years in their long term plan - that's a 96.7% increase over the decade.

“Whangarei home owners are essentially being told that rates will nearly double over the next ten years.

“Many local authorities have become pseudo tax collectors for Labour. They’ve been loaded with new responsibilities and offered the temptation to experiment with ratepayers’ money using the powers of general competence given to them by the Government.

“All those extra costs and added bureaucracy are now hitting property owners in the hip pocket,” says Mr Carter.

30 June 2006

Local Government

Labour policies partly responsible for big rates
hikes

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says ratepayers are “carrying the can for Labour’s buck-passing.”

Mr Carter is responding to reports of big rates hikes this week including the 13.5% increase in Auckland, and today’s 8.2% increase in Christchurch.

“Many local authorities have become pseudo tax collectors for Labour. They’ve been loaded with new responsibilities and offered the temptation to experiment with ratepayers’ money using the powers of general competence given to them by Labour.

“Just in the past month ratepayers have been loaded with another layer of bureaucracy in the dog control area. Make no mistake, it’ll be ratepayers picking up the tab for the extra administration costs for the confusing microchipping legislation.

“And the administration costs of the recently passed rates rebates scheme have increased the rates bill of Auckland City alone by up to $160,000.”

Mr Carter says even as Auckland councils were considering their annual plans the Finance Minister was sending a message that the Labour Government expected big rates increases.

“In May, Michael Cullen instructed the Auckland Regional Council to increase its rates by more than 5% because a proposed cap on rates was unrealistically low.

“It’s now crystal clear Labour doesn’t care how much hurt they’re inflicting on frustrated ratepayers. It’s high time local councils spoke up for their communities and told the Minister to stop passing the buck to them,” says Mr Carter.

22 June 2006

Local Government

Labour puts councils between rock and hard place

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter expects councils will be forced to devote scarce ratepayer resources to enforcing Labour’s toothless dog microchipping legislation.

“Rates have been escalating across the country thanks to costs being passed on down the chain by Labour. Make no mistake, microchipping is bound to be another one of those burdens that ratepayers will have to share.”

Mr Carter says territorial authorities will have to decipher what qualifies as a working dog, and inevitably there will be new costs because of the extra layers of bureaucracy needed to enforce and administer the new dog rules.

“Though farmers can celebrate a significant victory, spare a thought for the older Kiwi on a fixed income who will still have to pay this new dog tax, thanks to the inflexibility of political parties that refused to stop this law in its tracks.

“Dog control officers and animal shelters should be prepared for brisk business. Many irresponsible owners will simply dump their dogs to avoid the introduction of microchipping, while others will just continue to ignore the rules as they do now.”

Mr Carter is calling on councils to make sure the Labour policy-makers responsible for the microchipping agenda are fully aware of the difficulties they face in implementing the rules.

“If ratepayers and councils face extra costs because of this, they should make that very clear,” says Mr Carter.

20 June 2006

Civil Defence

Barker should go

“Rick Barker’s made too many mistakes in too short a time to retain his position as Civil Defence Minister,” says National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter.

“For Rick Barker to say that it took five days for the Army to assist South Cantabrians during their time of ‘snow crisis’ because local officials did not ask shows his own and his department’s lack of leadership.

“Helen Clark tells us in the end, it was she who asked the Minister to get his backside into gear. It’s an insult to the public’s intelligence for him now to admit Civil Defence is not up to scratch, then launch an ‘education’ exercise because, according to him, the delays were all the fault of local officials.

“The Ministry of Civil Defence is the lead agency in matters of civil disaster, and the Minister is where the buck stops.

“Rick Barker’s handling of the South Canterbury situation once again shows his incompetence in a matter of serious public safety. It comes far too soon after his bungled handling of the tsunami alarm.

“Prime Minister Helen Clark should stop defending his incompetence,” says Mr Carter.

“In a bizarre twist, I am starting to hear cries of bring back George (Hawkins), the previous minister. Things are that serious!

“Rick Barker should step down and let somebody competent handle the Civil Defence portfolio,” Mr Carter says.

12 June 2006

Local Government

Audits of long-term council plans cost $8 million

The auditing of local councils' long-term council community plans has been a farce, with $8 million of ratepayers hard-earned money being wasted on them, says National's Local Government spokesman, John Carter.

Under the Local Government Act 2002, all councils are required to produce a long-term council community plan (LTCCP) outlining work programmes for the next 10 years to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of their communities.

"But the auditing exercise has been a waste of up to $8 million of ratepayers' money," says Mr Carter. "It's a monument to the lack of trust that central government has in local government. Several mayors I've spoken to have called it a waste of both time and resources."

Mr Carter says that of the 77 LTCCP audits, 74 have received a complete clearance but three have not.

"In these particular cases, the comments are just matters of opinion about future assumptions. In one case, a council's plan was criticised for a lack of accurate inflation predictions for the next 10 years. Under these plans, councils have to make a number of assumptions and then basically guess what inflation will be 10 years down the track.

"Not even Treasury can predict inflation rates that far ahead. They and other forecasters have difficulty even predicting inflation a year ahead. The lack of effectiveness of audits has also been shown up. For example, the audit of the Wanganui District Council's plan missed a $6 million over-run on a project in the plan. That's not good enough."

9 June 2006

Local Government

Labour’s policies cost councils millions

National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter, says he is not surprised to hear that Labour’s policies are costing local government millions in compliance costs.

He is commenting on Wanganui District Council’s claim that changes in central government policies will cost it $1.3 million. Mayor Michael Laws has said that it is equivalent to a 4 to 5 per cent rates rise every year.

“National has long said that things like the microchipping of dogs, swimming pool regulations, and the auditing of long term council community plans will vastly increase the costs faced by local councils,” says Mr Carter.

“This is an issue that local government should be discussing with the Labour Government and ratepayers. Good on Michael Laws for being the first to say that some of the huge costs imposed on councils by this Labour Government are ‘manifestly unfair’.

10 June 2006

Treatment of elderly cancer patient ‘Third World’

The health system’s treatment of a 72-year-old Far North woman who had her nose removed because of cancer is Third World and a disgrace, says National MP for Northland John Carter.

The elderly woman had surgery last year to remove cancerous tissue, which resulted in her entire nose being removed. She has been told she can’t get prosthetic surgery to replace the nose because she is too old and because she lives in a rural area, which means her risk of infection is low.

Since the surgery, which took place last September, the woman has been too embarrassed to be seen in public.

“For nine months now, this woman has been living with a large hole where her nose and the right side of her face should be,” says Mr Carter.

“Understandably, she is afraid to leave her house, she is embarrassed, and she is in extreme distress. Her GP has said that ‘walking around like this is not acceptable for a First World country’.

“I absolutely agree. Her treatment has been abominable. Frankly, there is no reason good enough for her to be denied a prosthetic nose.”

Mr Carter has been told that an 18-year-old man who lost his nose in a P lab explosion about the same time received a replacement nose in just six weeks.

“This shows just how out of kilter this Government is with its priorities. I don’t believe this woman should be left with a disfigured face just because health officials think she is too old.”

Mr Carter says he intends to raise this case with Health Minister Pete Hodgson when Parliament resumes next week.

8 June 2006

Civil Defence

Bungling Barker defends indefensible

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter is astounded that Rick Barker continues to shoot the messenger for his Ministry’s muck-ups.

“A few weeks ago when civil defence didn’t answer the phones it was all the BBC’s fault, today when his Ministry’s new website had technical trouble, it was my fault for mentioning it. Bungling Rick Barker simply will not accept blame for anything. Instead of launching a personal attack on me, he should have thanked me for pointing it out, admitted there was a problem and had it fixed.

”I understand that some regional civil defence operations were also unable to access the www.getthru.govt.nz website this morning. That is a serious issue which warranted my attention.

“Furthermore, since Mr Barker is so quick to pass the buck for his departmental mistakes, he may like to find someone else to blame for the spelling of ‘New Zelealand’ in the website’s latest news section,” says Mr Carter.

8 June 2006

General/Health

MP supports case for new nose

The case of an elderly woman refused a new nose by health authorities is being taken up by Northland MP John Carter.

The 72-year-old cancer victim has a hole in her face where her nose was and has been told she is too old for a prosthetic replacement. She is too embarrassed to go out publicly.

John Carter will meet health officials tomorrow to discuss various issues, and says the case will be top of his priority list. He is also planning to bring it up in Parliament. John Carter says the fact that an 18-year-old man who lost his nose in a P explosion at the same time received a replacement nose in just six weeks shows just how out of kilter the government is with its priorities.

6 June 2006

Civil Defence

Fix civil defence before getting public involved

The Government will have to fix serious organisational problems in the civil defence network before a public awareness campaign will have any chance of working, says National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter. He is commenting on today’s announcement by Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker of a $6 million public awareness campaign.

“It’s all very well for the Government to focus on trying to get the public involved, but the first real incident we had – the tsunami that wasn’t – showed how dysfunctional the civil defence system is,” says Mr Carter.

“The system failed spectacularly, and practice runs before that, and since, have proved to be no different. There is a serious lack of co-ordination between national headquarters and civil defence at local government level.

“I am also aware that the voluntary network at local government level that is meant to be in place to support civil defence does not exist in most cases and is severely understaffed where it does exist. “A public awareness publicity campaign will do nothing to correct these fundamental flaws.

“The Government and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management have got to get their own houses in order before they can expect the public to play any part, or have any faith, in the present system.

“To spend $6 million of hard earned taxpayers’ money on a Labour Government face-saving campaign is a farce and a disgrace,” says Mr Carter.

28 April 2006

Civil Defence

Civil defence report should be alarmist

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Rick Barker should be ashamed of the way he has tried to minimise the risks outlined in a damning report on Auckland’s readiness for a major disaster.

“Mr Barker said the report was alarmist. Of course it’s alarmist, they are warning of serious threats to life and property. The Labour Government shouldn’t be trying to sweep it under the rug.”

Mr Carter is commenting on an evaluation of the ability of the region's new Civil Defence Emergency Management Group to cope with a crisis. It found that the knowledge and resources of the group are not at a satisfactory standard to meet legal requirements.

“Rick Barker needs to treat this far more seriously. He says it was a learning exercise, but how worried should Aucklanders be if the worst happened tomorrow? Civil Defence readiness isn’t a trial and error exercise, as flood victims in the South Island have discovered this week. If we need help in an emergency then the appropriate government agencies should be ready to provide it. They won’t get two chances to get it right.”

Mr Carter is calling on Rick Barker to take urgent steps to address the 12 recommendations in the evaluation.

“The Minister shouldn’t try to bury this because he’s embarrassed by the results. Public safety is far too important.”

28 April 2006

Local Government

Clearer sentences, safer communities

Last week, the Law Commission’s president, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, said prisoners should be eligible for parole only after serving two-thirds of their sentence. Under the current law, prisoners become eligible for parole after serving one third of their sentence. I agree with the Law Commission’s recommendation.

The parole system is complicated and confusing. Many prisoners seem to end up serving a sentence that is significantly less than the one imposed and therefore does not reflect the severity of the crime they committed. This does nothing to inspire the public’s confidence that they are being kept safe from criminals and that offenders are serving the time they should.

In my view, sentences should reflect actual time in prison as realistically as possible. It is just not okay for an offender who has been sentenced, for example, to nine years in prison to walk free after serving only three.

National has been saying for some time that the parole system lacks credibility and is not working. Parole must be carefully considered and must contribute directly to effective reintegration of offenders into society. We can have no confidence that this is currently the case.

We have all read reports of horrendous crimes committed by offenders on parole. These reports prove some prisoners are being released early. Therefore, National supports the abolition of parole for violent and repeat offenders. This would ensure simpler, more transparent sentencing.

And simpler, more transparent sentencing would not only keep the community safer but would also allow the community to feel safer. This is an important principle because justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done.

19 April 2006

Local Government

Big increase in beneficiaries claiming help for cars

Recent figures from Work and Income show the number of beneficiaries receiving taxpayer-funded assistance for car repayments and running costs have rocketed under Labour.

The figures show that the number of working age beneficiaries getting taxpayer-funded support for car repayments has increased nationally from 1,528 in 2000 to 10,018 in 2005. In Northland the numbers have increased from 136 in 2000 to 939 in 2005.

The total number receiving extra help for car running costs has increased from 106 in 2000 to 499 last year, and from 4 to 27 in Northland over the same period of time.

John Carter MP comments:

"As numbers on the sickness benefit have exploded under Labour, so too has the cost borne by the taxpayer to buy and maintain beneficiaries' cars. Worse still, Work and Income is unable to tell us how much it is costing the taxpayer to purchase and maintain this fleet of vehicles.

"Nor can the Ministry tell us how many beneficiaries are deeper in debt because of the additional burden of car costs. This is totally unacceptable and it's time they did," says John Carter.

18 April 2006

Local Government

Dog law will fail without council support

National Party Local Government spokesman John Carter says Labour’s micro-chipping law will fail without the support of the councils that are expected to enforce it.

“Local bodies are seething at the additional burden they face as a result of this legislation, which has been the subject of much angst, particularly in rural communities.”

The Masterton District Council is proposing to put micro-chipping checks at the bottom of its priority list for dog staff. Mr Carter says he predicts other councils will follow suit.

“Councils are sick and tired of being lumped with the cost and responsibility of more and more Government-imposed regulation and bureaucracy. This is a clear message that they’ve had enough.

“The Government should take notice of this message and be very concerned.”

13 April 2006

Local Government

Food safety standards more bureaucracy for local councils

Proposed new rules for food safety standards could see more enterprising New Zealanders forced out of business, says National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter. Under proposed new food safety rules, anyone supplying food for payment must develop a food control plan and register it with their local authority. They will be subject to audit inspections.

“While this certainly makes sense for restaurants and cafes, it also extends to homestays, farmstays, bed and breakfasts and to any other operation supplying food for payment such as households taking boarders, foreign students and even farm workers,” says Mr Carter.

“The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has not taken into consideration the wider implications in drafting the proposed rules. Within homestays, bed and breakfasts and farmstays the provision of food is only a small part of the total experience. The sector is worth about $50 million to the economy. Many operators are single households, sensitive to compliance costs and the burden of increased bureaucracy.

“The new standards will inevitably result in significant numbers of people choosing to leave the industry rather than take on the huge level of bureaucracy. The majority of homestays and farmstays already undergo regular inspections by their local council, or by companies such as Hospitality Plus and Qualmark. It’s a waste of time and resources to add another inspection to the list when a food safety check could be incorporated into any of these.

“Local authorities will be responsible for registering food control plans and for conducting inspections. This adds to the burden of local authorities and will likely contribute to increased rates at a time when rates are already increasing as local authorities seek to recover costs.

“This is another instance of the Government expanding the role of local authorities, but failing to provide them with adequate funding and resources. Inevitably, this will mean costs are passed onto ratepayers while this Labour Government’s obsession with bureaucracy will see enterprising New Zealanders forced out of business,” says Mr Carter.

10 April 2006

Local Government

Police must appeal outrageous ā€˜Pā€™ sentence

National Party MP John Carter is urging the Police to appeal against a sentence handed down to a Kaitaia man for dealing in methamphetamine.

“I am absolutely outraged by this sentence. Aaron Kuvarji was found guilty on charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of seven life terms plus 14 years but all he got was two years. Not only that, but because he had been in custody since November and if he gets time off for good behaviour, he could by out by July.

“That is an insult to the judicial system and to the community. If this is the best this judge can do then he should be removed. I seriously wonder what planet he is on. He seems to have no appreciation of what methamphetamine is doing to Northland or other communities. This is the biggest social scourge our community is facing - or has ever faced. “It has the potential to damage society to the stage where it will cease to function as we know it, and if all this judge can do in response is set a two-year precedent for dealing on a major scale then he is totally out of touch.

“Kuvarji should have been locked away for the rest of his time. I don't care what his history is. Anyone who deals in this terrible drug deserves to be put away, and kept away. I'm absolutely furious that after all the trouble so many people in the community - police, health people, people like me - have gone to fight this dreadful drug, we have been so badly let down.

“When Parliament reclassified P as a class A drug, and introduced tougher penalties like life sentences, we expected the judiciary to use these weapons. I urge the Police to appeal, and I hope that whoever considers that appeal will understand exactly what the hell it is we're trying to protect our community from.”

Mr Carter says he is making the fight against ‘P’ a personal mission.

“And I invite the judiciary and any MPs who are under any illusion as to the effect of ‘P’ on communities to come with me on a fact-finding mission. We must defeat this drug.”

30 March 2006

Local Government

Labour buck-passing sees rates skyrocket

Labour’s constant dumping of new and expanded responsibility onto councils will see rates continue to rise, says National’s Local Government spokesman, John Carter. He is responding to Labour’s support for Jeanette Fitzsimons’ member’s bill requiring local government to take into account issues relating to global warming when considering RMA applications.

Mr Carter says this is just the latest in a long line of additional costs imposed on local government which are, inevitably, passed on to ratepayers. Since Labour came into office in 1999, rates around the country have increased by an average of more than 31 percent.

Mr Carter says central government has kept imposing more and more rules and function on local government.

“Councils can’t be experts on everything from climate change to prostitution, and Labour’s expectation that they should be only leads to councils paying more and more for advice and consultation. The time that this will add to the processing of applications is another cost to local authorities, as is the staff time it will consume.

“Such ongoing and significant cost increases are not acceptable. The subsequent rate increases make budgeting for families on fixed incomes unnecessarily difficult and undermine the competitiveness of New Zealand businesses,” says Mr Carter.

30 March 2006

Civil Defence

Bungling Barker must provide papers

National Party Civil Defence spokesman John Carter says Rick Barker must provide the evidence to show he’s done his homework on the planned restructuring at Civil Defence.

“When Labour talks about building a bigger bureaucracy National is always sceptical. The Minister must release all the papers showing the cost of the change and the benefits it will deliver to New Zealanders. Civil Defence is too important to be restructured on a hunch.”

Mr Carter also voiced sympathy for retiring Civil Defence director John Norton “who has covered the bungling Minister’s backside for the last time.

“It’s taken 14 months for the Minister to do anything in response to a hugely critical report which said Civil Defence was ill equipped to deal with a large scale disaster. This is a Minister who could not even remember his own Department had done a report on Agent Orange. Mr Barker and the New Zealand public should thank their lucky stars there hasn’t been a disaster while Labour’s been fast asleep on the job,” says Mr Carter.

28 March 2006

Local Government

Anderton a lame duck over farm dog microchipping

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton was shown up as being a lame duck when he admitted his failure to argue farmers' case over microchipping of farm dogs, says National Agriculture spokesman David Carter.

"Mr Anderton's responses in Parliament today show the Cabinet's number three ranked minister's been well and truly rolled by 18th ranked Nanaia Mahuta.

"Despite his big talk all around the country to the rural community, Mr Anderton has failed them.

"Farmers will be extremely disappointed by this costly and illogical move to include working farm dogs in microchipping requirements."

National Local Government spokesman John Carter says Treasury papers show it will be costly to not just dog owners but taxpayers as well.

"Treasury told the Government that just setting up a national dog database would cost $1.3 million, with a further $400,000 in annual running costs.

"This is on top of the local government costs, and the cost to dog owners themselves.

"Treasury also warned the Government in a 2003 report that it was 'concerned that a national dog database will not address the issue of dog control and comes with significant costs and the risk of technological obsolescence.'

"The public needs to be aware that on top of any costs to local government and dog owners, the taxpayer will also be footing part of the bill. It's ludicrous the Government hasn't taken the advice of its own highly-paid officials."

10 February 2006

Local Government

Carter urges involvement with DHB review

Northland MP John Carter is urging all people with an interest in provision of health services in Northland to make submissions on the terms of reference for Northland DHB’s review of community laboratory services.

“It is essential that members of the public, health practitioners, hospital staff and community stakeholders are involved with the setting of the terms of reference for this review. Wide involvement from the community will ensure Northlanders get the service they desire and deserve.”

Members of the public can contact the Northland DHB by writing to:

Mr Kim Tito
General Manager - Service Development and Funding and Maori Health
Northland DHB
P.O.Box 742

 

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