Local government is essential to democracy. The actions of local governments should enhance the social, environmental, cultural, and economic wellbeing of the communities they serve.

Local democracy should empower people and communities

  • Decisions should be made at the level closest to the people and communities affected by them.
  • Local councils that do not already use a ranked choice electoral system should hold referendums offering ranked choice elections to voters.
  • Councils should be supported to explore and trial participatory and collaborative democratic decision-making processes, including for budget setting.
  • Only voters should decide who governs local authorities. Ministers should not be able to appoint Crown Managers.
  • The role of local and community boards should be reviewed and enhanced.

Local government should work in partnership with tangata whenua

  • The Local Electoral Act should provide for a range of Maori representation options, including dedicated Maori seats.
  • Te Tiriti-based decision making should be enhanced through processes developed in partnership with tangata whenua

Councils should only amalgamate with public support

  • Amalgamation should be decided by referendum with support required from a majority of voters in each council area.
  • Councils should be encouraged to share services where sharing will reduce costs and improve service delivery.

A variety of funding options are appropriate, including borrowing

  • There should be no taxation without representation.
  • If central government places new responsibilities or increases costs on local government, appropriate resources should be available to meet those costs.
  • The remuneration of local authority CEOs should be approved by the independent Remuneration Authority.
  • Council controlled organisations should focus on delivery of services, not making a profit.

 

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