has appointed a panel to oversee the Future for the Local Government Review. We
ran a story in InfraRead’s August
edition that looked at the Review’s establishment.
The Review is
- the functions, roles, and structures of local
- relationships between local government, central
government, iwi, Māori, businesses, communities and other organisations
- necessary changes for local government to most
effectively reflect and respond to their communities
- the embodiment of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
- funding arrangements for local government.
The panel released
its interim report late last month. It can be viewed here.
The Interim Report
sets out the broad direction and five priority questions for the review, in
order to support engagement about the future of local governance and democracy.
This work will lead to a further report with draft recommendations in 2022.
priority questions are the heart of the review’s next steps and they are as
- How should the system of local governance be
reshaped so it can adapt to future challenges and enable communities to thrive?
- What are the future functions, roles and
essential features of New Zealand’s system of local government?
- How might a system of local governance embody
authentic partnership under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, creating conditions for
shared prosperity and wellbeing?
- What needs to change so local government and its
leaders can best reflect and respond to the communities they serve?
- What should change in local governance funding
and financing to ensure viability and sustainability, fairness and equity, and
The Interim Report
marks an important milestone in the review process and makes a strong case for
change. It confirms all is not well in New Zealand’s local government system
and that change is needed for local government to remain relevant. The Interim Report
identifies several issues, most of which are well-known such as funding and
financing constraints, governance matters, as well as scope creep due to
central government requirements that add to councils’ financial pressure. The
interim report says the review process will see new local government structures
The Review’s next
stage will involve a broader public engagement about the future of local
governance and democracy in New Zealand, alongside research and policy
development. After completing that work, the panel will report to the Minister
for Local Government with draft findings and recommendations by late 2022.
The third stage
will involve formal consultation about the Panel’s draft recommendations. It
will consider public submissions before delivering its final report in April
our questions at a recent briefing webinar, the Panel has said that local
government could do generally better in terms of delivering on the “four
wellbeings”, particularly on economic and social wellbeing, while also noting
that while the four wellbeings form a primary purpose of local government, it
is not just local government that should be primarily responsible on delivering