LGNZ takes significant step towards shaping future

27 July 2023

Councils have decided to develop a collective position to take to a new Cabinet following the general election on the future for local government.

Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) 75 member councils voted on this at this year’s AGM in Christchurch. The membership also voted in a new President, Selwyn District Council Mayor Sam Broughton, and Vice President, Hutt City Council Mayor Campbell Barry. 

Mr Broughton has been elected for a three-year term.  

“I’d like to acknowledge Stuart Crosby who retired after serving LGNZ as President or the last three years. We thank him for his leadership during a politically charged and disruptive time in local government’s history,” he said.   

The independent panel’s final report into the Future for Local Government, released in June, had 17 key recommendations, highlighting the need for broad system changes that go to the heart of the relevance and sustainability of local government and local democracy.  

“The conscious decision by councils to develop a consensus position or consensus positions shows that local government wants to take ownership of its own future,’ said Mayor Broughton.  

“We all know that there are a wide range of views in local government, that reflect the unique needs of individual communities.  

“That’s why it’s a huge step in the right direction for councils to agree to getting behind a collective, negotiated position on the future. 

“This move will undoubtedly strengthen our influence and present a compelling case to the incoming government,” said Mayor Broughton.  

"While there is already a broad agreement within local government that funding and financing must evolve, it’s vital that we work through the areas where we have different views,” LGNZ’s CE Susan Freeman-Greene said.   

“LGNZ will work collaboratively with its members from July to October to develop the substance of the consensus position that addresses the various aspects of the report and any other areas that will ensure a strong and stable future. 

“We are taking a deliberate, considered approach to ensure that such an important opportunity for genuine system change doesn’t fall victim to political football during the pre-election period. 

"Our process to building the consensus will be incremental and transparent. We’ll identify areas where consensus already exists and equip local government leaders with resources and guidance to narrow down the areas where there are more diverse views. We will gradually look to build wider consensus through zone meetings and mayoral forums. 

“One of the key platforms for important conversations about the future is the LGNZ annual conference, 'SuperLocal 2023,' which starts today.   

“The event brings together the country’s mayors, chairs, chief executives, councillors, community and local board members, key partners of local government and renowned keynote speakers. 

“A strong, thriving local government that’s built on trusting partnerships between central and local government, as well as with communities will secure a bright future for future generations,” Susan Freeman-Greene said.