Local government review must centre Te Tiriti o Waitangi and empower young people

The future of local government must empower the young people who will live with the decisions made today, by enabling them to vote, and strengthen our national commitment to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Green Party said today.

“The future of local government must embrace new ways of actively involving people and communities in the decisions that affect them. That includes having Te Tiriti o Waitangi at the core of local government, to honour the importance of rangatiratanga amongst our local iwi, hapū, and whānau,” Green Party local government spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“If we’re planning how local government will operate over the next thirty years, we need young peoples’ voices at the table because they will be the ones who are most affected. The review should seriously consider lowering the voting age for local government elections to 16.

“To strengthen local democracy and better represent the communities that councils serve, local government needs proportional voting systems in every part of Aotearoa, such as Single Transferable Vote.

“Local government needs more funding. We need to agree new ways to address decades of underinvestment in community wellbeing and infrastructure, with central and local government working together. We cannot continue to leave future generations with leaking pipes and crumbling concrete.

“Local government plays an essential role supporting communities, improving wellbeing, and addressing the climate crisis. Reforms to the RMA and three waters system have raised questions about the future of local government, so this review is timely.”