The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1889. LOCAL GOVERNMENT.
Hew Zealand is probably the most conspicuous example of a much-governed country m the world. What with the Governor, Parliament and Civil Service at the head of affairs, Land Boards, County and Borough Councils, Town, Road and River Boards, Licensing Committees, Boards of Education, and School Committees, and other bodies to deal with special local matters, there seems no end to the number of constituted authorities holding various degrees of power m the country. That these bodies discharge their duties' on the whole well is not disputed, but the economical aspect of this great subdivision of responsibility for local government has long called for attention. While settlement was only partial it was neoessary that local affairs should be looked after by those immediately interested m providing and expending the money for roads, bridges and similar works, but now that the public roads throughout the colony form what may be called a national system, the necessity for strictly local administration is less apparent, and it has been suggested that the County Councils should undertake the administrative work which is now divided among so many minor bodies. A Committee of the Housed Representatives was appointed to enquire into the whole question of looal Government, and their recommendations, upon which it is almost needless to say no action was taken lest session, ore worthy of consideration by all concerned. The form of Government suggested by the Committee is framed with the object of amalgamating many of the present looal bodies, and the creation of a central | power which would be formed of members nominated by the County and Borough Councils, much m the same way as Hospital Boards are now con-; stituted. The following are the chief points of the system: — "(1) Decentralisation ; (2) reduction m number of local bodies *, (d) a definite and fixed relation between the finance of the General Government and that of the local bodies ; (4) the establishment of local districts, with elective governing bodies ; the districts to be comparatively few m number and to be defined with due regard to the interests of the community and the natural features of the country. The four large oities of the colony, with their suburbs, to bo made separate districts, and the remainder of the colony to consist of not more than sixteen districts ; (5) the constitution of local Councils by election by the Borough and County Councils, or Road Boards where the Counties Act is not m force, within each district, with a provision that the Governor-in- Council may, where necessary, alter for the purpooes of such election only the boundaries of any Borough, County, or Koad Board district." The recommendations will not be unanimously accepted by the existing local bodies, but there is no doubt something must be done. The present systeiu is cumbersome and expensive, and the number of men who take part m local government is so few that the claims upon their time made by their having to attend so many meetings and committees as are required are felt to be more serious than they are willing to undertake. We do not anticipate that any radical change m the system will be attempted by the present Parliament, but Local Government reform cannot fail to be one of the most important questions raised at the next general election.