Make your voice heard
The following email will be sent to LGNZ on your behalf.
To Mr Stuart Crosby and the LGNZ National Council,Send email
CC: Ministers Nanaia Mahuta and Keiran McAnulty
I am writing to you to express my disappointment in your decision to ban those who represent ratepayers from the LGNZ conference on “the future of local government”.
It is concerning that you saw fit to exclude a key voice for ratepayers – the Taxpayers’ Union, its 180,000 subscribed supporters, and even its affiliated Ratepayer Alliance groups – from even listening to this discussion. I am one of the 180,000 ‘banned’ from attending.
The future of local government and democracy is not in silencing dissenters or punishing those who criticise government policies. The future of local democracy relies on robust debate and the accountability of elected officials and public servants to ratepayers.
As an organisation funded by ratepayers like me, LGNZ should be a champion for democratic values and understand the importance of protecting the right of ratepayers to criticise the policies and actions of those making decisions on our behalf. LGNZ should certainly be capable of receiving criticism and facing protest without resorting to banning or excluding those they disagree with.
I understand that the reason given for the ban is previous criticism of LGNZ by the Taxpayers’ Union, and concern about what they “might say” about the conference. That is pathetic. Does LGNZ not appreciate the irony that this decision confirms the very criticisms that LGNZ has been politicised and lacks accountability to ratepayers?
I encourage the LGNZ National Council to reconsider. Wiser heads should prevail. Mr Crosby should apologise to ratepayers for his decision to ban ratepayer representation from the LGNZ conference and to reflect on the fact that a healthy democracy requires respect for diverse perspectives.