A Tauranga city councillor has urged greater use of referendums to counter a move away from public consultation on local government decision making.
Larry Baldock was responding to recommendations from the government-appointed task force set up to make local government more efficient.
If the recommendations were adopted by the Government, he said, they would have to start discussing referendums - otherwise they could end up with a "sham" of public consultation.
Mayor Stuart Crosby said the common theme was to centralise decision making, rather than councils responding to consultation with their communities.
"I don't support that necessarily ... it is something we need to think about."
Mr Crosby said Tauranga public sector management expert Peter McKinlay had made a very good presentation recently, in which he said that New Zealand was one of the few countries moving towards more centralised decision making.
"The rest of the world is going to bottom-up decision making on things that affect the community."
Commenting on the Productivity Commission's report to improve the local government regulatory environment, Mr Crosby was pleased the commission had understood that governments did not understand the consequences of their law making.
"That is a key issue. They don't listen to the voice of experience."
He used the Freedom of Camping Act as an example of hasty legislation where the Government had not listened to submitters.
Mr Crosby said the Government had failed to understand the linkages between the Local Government Act, the Resource Management Act and the Land Transport Act. "That is why it takes 20 years to build a single piece of road in New Zealand. That is what they [governments] need to unbundle."
Mr Crosby said the commission had noted how unsuccessful legislation was slowing New Zealand down.
"It is the Government that is slowing the country down by poor law making - the lack of understanding of what the consequences really are," he said.