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Christchurch City Council Media Release 10 July 2000

Mayor Wants Central Govt Ties Loosened

Christchurch’s Mayor Garry Moore hopes the legislative straightjacket that local government sometimes wears can be loosened.

He gave this message in two speeches to the Local Government New Zealand conference in Christchurch.

He said he wanted increased national recognition of the "lead role Canterbury is already playing in co-operative new forms of local governance."

Mr Moore said he hoped that after the conference "the ideas we have been developing here for both partnership models between local government and also with other sectors take on the same lead role nationally when it comes to governance issues.

"There… is a considerably enhanced feeling of optimism that at last we may be getting somewhere in having our parish-pump concerns heard and responded to from central government," he said.

Local government, in recent years, had been trying to tackle increasingly complex issues from within the confines of a legislative straightjacket that had hindered local government’s ability to broker effective solutions, he said.

"Or in plain English – it has been hellishly hard at times to the do the right thing at the right time."

It was fairly well accepted that Canterbury led the way economically and the future was looking very robust.

He thought the conference could be something of a turning point for the better in the fortunes of local government. His belief was that the future for effective politics in New Zealand was with local government.

"I think we appear to have incumbents in central government who are hearing the message too and are willing to take some tangible action to prove that they have heard our call for greater control over our own local destinies," Mr Moore said.

"We are also the group with the best chance of effectively bridging the sad gulf of cynicism that still yawns between the governed and the governing," he said.

Mr Moore said the South Island tended to take a conservative approach to change but when "we do move it tends to be fairly decisively."

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