Councils have voted to develop a collective position on the Future for Local Government to take to a new Cabinet following New Zealand’s general election.
Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) 75 member councils took a vote at this year’s AGM, held in Christchurch yesterday.
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 newly elected LGNZ President, Selwyn District Council Mayor, Sam 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.”
In anticipation of the work, National Council has created an advisory group to help guide the process.
The group is:
- LGNZ President – Mayor Sam Broughton
- Te Maruata representative – Councillor Moko Tauariki
- Young Elected Members representative – Councillor Alex Crackett
- Six other elected members – Mayor Anita Baker, Mayor Max Baxter, Mayor Tim Cadogan, Deputy Mayor Angela O’Leary, Chair Peter Scott and Mayor Andrew Tripe.
- Three chief executive representatives – Taituarā President (Barbara McKerrow is currently acting), Steve Ruru and Alex Parmley.