The Canterbury Mayoral Forum has welcomed today’s final report from the Future for Local Government review panel.
Forum Chair and Timaru Mayor, Nigel Bowen says it will take time to absorb the details of the report, but he was pleased to see some of the Forum’s feedback in the document.
“Regardless of the outcome, the Canterbury region has a really strong collaborative relationship, with a history of working together for the betterment of our communities,” said Mayor Bowen.
He said the Forum looked forward to seeing the report strengthening partnership and increasing collaboration with iwi, along with lifting the focus on localism, local voice and an emphasis on function rather than form.
The Forum also wants to see the report kickstart action to build capacity in the sector and recognise the significance and importance of coherent governance.
When it came to the relationship between central and local government, Forum Chair Bowen said it “must change”.
“Currently, over 90% of tax take is held by central government while local government has most of the direct interaction with their communities and does a lot of the heavy lifting.”
“It’s not just about the money though, it’s about trust. Central government needs to trust that we know our communities best. We need to create a local government sector that genuinely serves our communities,” said Mayor Bowen.
In a separate statement from Dunedin City Council, Mayor Jules Radich said the Council would not rush to an opinion on the report.
“It’s positive that the crucial role of Local Government has been recognised in The Future for Local Government final report,” said Mayor Radich.
Council will not rush to provide an opinion until we have had time to digest and process the 17 recommendations.
“We welcome the highlighting of proposed future funding arrangements.”
Mayor Radich said the Council would have its community “top of mind” as it viewed the challenges faced and the recommendations given in the report.
Council welcomes the release of this document and look forward to understanding more over coming days, he said.
“Council wants to see the substance of the response from Central Government and we understand this won’t occur before the October election.”
“We appreciate the work done but it is too early to make any substantive comment,” said Mayor Radich.
The members of the Mayoral Forum are the mayors of the 10 territorial authorities in Canterbury and the chair of the regional council (Environment Canterbury), mandated by the Canterbury Local Authorities’ Triennial Agreement.