Published: 23 July 2017
Changes to the way we fund infrastructure, improvements to our risk and resilience and new ways of protecting New Zealand’s water are outlined in the Local Government New Zealand election manifesto, released today.
The manifesto, LGNZ’s plan for a prosperous and vibrant New Zealand, was released at the opening of the LGNZ annual conference this afternoon.
In launching the manifesto LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said for councils to achieve the maximum for their communities there are some areas an incoming government will need to address, often in collaboration with local government.
There are five key areas in the manifesto, which reflect LGNZ’s strategic priorities:
“Across these spheres there is a range of policy improvements we think could lift the outcomes for our communities,” Mr Yule said.
Running throughout the manifesto is a key theme of infrastructure, and especially how it is funded.
“In our view New Zealand’s infrastructure is at a crossroads and needs to be a key focus in the upcoming election,” Mr Yule says. “We are at a point now where we need to take some significant decisions about how we ensure we continue to enjoy the benefits of our vital infrastructure.” This will require, among other things, councils having access to a broad range of funding options to meet current and future needs in areas like water provision, transport and housing.
Risk and resilience
“Recent events like the Kaikoura earthquake and the Edgecumbe flooding have further put the spotlight on the need to improve our readiness for hazardous events to reduce community and economic risks,” Mr Yule says. “LGNZ is calling on an incoming government to commit to a collaborative approach and urgent action to manage the risks posed to New Zealand communities from extreme weather and seismic events.”
“The quality of our water is and will continue to be a defining issue for the foreseeable future. Current water policy is disjointed so we are advocating the creation of a coherent and integrated framework for the management and allocation of New Zealand’s water resources. Alongside water quality, local government has identified responding to and managing the impacts climate change as a key strategic priority.”
“For New Zealand to prosper it needs healthy communities and healthy communities need good homes. There are major social and economic impacts stemming from poor housing, including people’s ability to participate in school, work and in the community generally. We are calling on an incoming government to implement a stronger policy and regulatory framework for improving the standard of rental housing.”
“Although the New Zealand economy continues to expand, some parts of the country are benefitting less than others from that growth. We think a system that incentivises council investment in growth could help turn the tide, especially in regional New Zealand,” Mr Yule says. Allowing councils to capture ‘value uplift’ in their areas, allowing for the creation of special economic zones to attract investment in specific locations, and a collaborative and innovative approach with councils when developing economic policy and strategy at national and local levels.