Local government puts city and regional deal on the table

20 May 2024

LGNZ has today released a proposal for city and regional deals that moves decision-making away from Wellington and back into local communities.

“Councils are keen to crack on with city and regional deals that benefit their local communities,” LGNZ President Sam Broughton said.

“Local government is currently facing some really tough decisions and we need the government to play its part in a long-term solution for our cities and regions.

“We’ve developed a proposal that reflects what local government expects to see in any deal with central government and how we can work together to deliver outcomes.

“While there has been some success overseas using a city deals model, New Zealand needs a framework to reflect our communities' specific needs.”

LGNZ is proposing five key elements that city and regional deals must have:

  • Alignment on outcomes that local communities want
  • Access to new funding and financing tools
  • Long-term commitment beyond election cycles, with increasing devolution
  • Trust and authentic partnership
  • Efficient to administer and deliver.

“We also believe all cities and regions should have the opportunity to propose a deal to the Government,” Sam Broughton said.

“Successive Governments have dictated a Wellington-centric approach to local government, and we believe these deals can reset the relationship to one of mutual respect, as well as demonstrate the benefits of a localism-based approach.

“As one of the most over-centralised countries in the OECD, there is a lot of room for more localism in New Zealand.

“We’ve been encouraged by the Government’s comments to date about localism, partnership, and longer-term commitments. Our proposal reflects those shared interests and will form the foundation of any successful deal.

“Any deal also needs to be enduring, beyond any one term of government. Too much money and time is wasted when the government changes and everything councils have been planning for gets flipped upside down.

“It’s important we get moving on these deals to help relieve the pressure on rates and give councils the confidence to invest in long-term projects with central government.

“Councils look forward to working with the Government on agreeing City and Regional deals that benefit all New Zealanders,” Sam Broughton said.