The Future for Local Government initiative must make the most of a historic opportunity to set communities up for success now and in the future, as it looks into the roles and responsibilities of councils amid a flurry of major policy reform, says Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).
Announced today by Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta, the initiative responds to calls from LGNZ and others to look at how local choice and voice will be enabled in the wake of policy reform across three waters, resource management, climate change and the health system, and how local government will continue to resource and deliver its mandate to lift the four well-beings – cultural, economic, social and environmental – in New Zealand’s communities.
“The Future for Local Government initiative is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand to re-imagine the roles, responsibilities and resources of councils so that they can meet community expectations which have evolved massively over the last 30 years,” said LGNZ President Stuart Crosby.
“The operational realities for local government are huge urban growth and tourism pressures, greater focus on environmental protections and climate change pressures, all matched to outdated funding tools.”
“Now, with major reform coming down the line, there is an opportunity to make sure both tiers of government are aligned on delivering the best possible outcomes, while enabling local leadership and voice.”
“The review panel must deliver a bold response that is in tune with the needs of our diverse communities and our treaty partnership, and which considers how our future generations are afforded a voice and a choice in their towns, cities and regions, and how their local initiatives are funded.”
“Deep engagement with all communities, not just local government, will be the cornerstone of recommendations that we can all work towards, so we encourage the panel to work with iwi, community groups and beyond.”
“We encourage all New Zealanders to engage with the Future for Local Government programme – this is your opportunity to shape local democracy, the closest form of government to the people,” concluded Mr Crosby.