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What is the future for local government?

What is the future for local government?

What is the future for local government?

Tuesday 27 April, 2021

On 23 April 2021, the Government announced an independent review of local government to see whether current roles and functions are fit for purpose. Current government work programmes, such as the resource management reform and three water reforms, are changing the way local government functions. The review will focus on how local government needs to evolve and change over the next 30 years to meet future challenges and to improve the wellbeing of communities and the environment.

The review will be chaired by former Waimakariri District Council CEO, Jim Palmer, and will have a broad mandate to consider the future of local government, including:

  • roles, functions and partnerships;
  • representation and governance; and
  • funding and financing.

The Government wants to achieve:

  • a resilient and sustainable local government system, fit for purpose, with the flexibility and incentives to adapt to communities’ future needs;
  • public trust/confidence in local authorities and the local regulatory system;
  • effective partnerships between mana whenua, and central and local government; and
  • a local government system that actively embodies the Treaty partnership and seeks to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles.


By 30 September 2021, the review panel will present an interim report signalling the probable direction of the review and key next steps, with consultation on a draft report and recommendations from 30 September 2022. A final report will be presented to the Minister and Local Government New Zealand by 30 April 2023.  The Government will then consider the report before deciding what report recommendations, if any, it proposes to implement.

Our Local Government Team will be keeping a close watch on developments in this area, and we will keep you posted.

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