Local democracy that matters

The Green Party will strengthen local democracy and provide councils with the tools they need to improve our communities, including by building strong relationships with iwi and hapū.

Local government can play a crucial role in building healthy, vibrant, and inclusive communities.

Right now, councils are under significant funding pressure. Engagement in local elections continues to decline, and kāwanatanga and tino rangatiratanga are often not upheld in community decision-making.

As the layer of government closest to the community, councils can help address the challenges we face - from climate change, to a lack of affordable homes.

For decades the Green Party has championed accessible local democracy, run in the interests of everyone, where councils work in partnership with iwi and hapū.

We will make sure local decision-makers reflect the communities they represent by lowering the voting age to 16 years, and introducing proportional voting systems.

We will also make sure local elections are run for the benefit of the community, not profit, and support local authorities to raise the money they need to pay for essential services.

The time is now to create a local government system that is focused on meeting the needs of all of our communities.

Our plan

  • Amend the Local Government Act to make the role of local government as a te Tiriti o Waitangi partner explicit and to ensure that te Tiriti o Waitangi underpins local government decision-making.
  • Strengthen local democracy and improve inclusiveness of councils by enabling 16 year-olds to vote, and shift to proportional voting systems.
  • Move administration of local elections from private companies to the Electoral Commission, and set voter participation targets.
  • Provide local authorities with new revenue tools such as targeted environmental taxes, congestion charges, resource rentals, and tourism infrastructure levies, to better enable funding of local programmes without relying solely on rates.
  • Work with local government to improve resilience of telecommunications and transport networks for flooding, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
  • Expand the Election Access Fund to disabled people who are running in local elections.

You can find our full manifesto here