Thursday, June 13, 2024

Christchurch signs off on future of local government submission

Christchurch City Council’s submission on the Future for Local Government Review Panel’s draft report, ‘He mata whāriki, he matawhānui’, was approved at today’s Council meeting.

The independent panel, commissioned by the Minister of Local Government, reports on the future of local government in light of the three waters and environmental management reforms and how they will affect the sector.

The panel’s draft report outlines the ‘need for a local governance system in Aotearoa that is community-focused and citizen-centred, based on strong relationships and partnerships’. The panel describes its review as an opportunity to “reimagine” the future for local democracy and local public services.

Christchurch Mayor, Phil Mauger says it’s important for the Council to submit on proposals that could significantly affect residents or Council business.

“It’s very important that we’re able to advocate for the community of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula in the early stages of this process, which will affect everyone and will change our responsibilities as a Council and the services we provide,” he said.

In its submission, the Council recommends:

  • A new integrated model of government for New Zealand that is about more than just local government, local governance or local democracy;
  • Better understanding and acknowledgement by central government of the contribution and potential of local government, and more integration with national systems and services;
  • Clarification by the Crown on the role, or roles, of local government in the national Te Tiriti partnership;
  • A complete rethink of council funding and financing so that councils are entrusted with more enabling legislation regarding funding approaches;
  • A single preferred local government structure. The Council’s preference is for a unitary council model with flexibility to adapt to local needs and preferences;
  • A clear implementation plan, with funding and appropriate structural proposals to empower local government. Also, quick implementation of the required changes, after the general election, by the new government.

Mayor Mauger says it’s clear that there are aspects of local government that don’t work as well as they could.

“It’s great that we’ve had the chance to make a submission that puts forward the issues and solutions as we see them at this point,” he says.

“There’s a huge opportunity here to fix a lot of what’s wrong with the current system. We could be doing so much better for our citizens.

“Hopefully this submission, and those of other councils, will help the Government make changes that will be best for local authorities and their communities all around New Zealand.”

Read the draft submission here. 

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