Political commentator Jane Clifton, writing in the February 23rd Listener , puts it more sharply. Here’s her story lead:
“…in an unexpected lightning-strike on the sector, the Government is about to announce a top-to-bottom reform of local authorities, the principal aim being to restrict the ambit of council activities, their ability to borrow, and their ability to keep cranking up rates. Although Local Government Minister Nick Smith is keen to stress that he wants to work with councils, rather than against them, he has also made it clear radical change is on the agenda. Like abolishing regional councils, for example, and encouraging more amalgamation.