Minister concludes local government review

Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has concluded the Future for Local Government Review and confirmed that the Coalition Government will not be responding to the review’s recommendations.

“The previous government initiated the review because its Three Waters and resource management reforms would have stripped local government of responsibility for water assets and planning rights.

“Our government has repealed Labour’s divisive and unpopular reforms and has restored continued local ownership and responsibilities for water services and resource management,” Mr Brown says.

While the review was initiated in response to the previous government’s reforms, the review lost its way with recommendations focussing on issues such as lowering the voting age, changing the voting system, and removing local voices from establishing Māori wards. 

“These issues are a distraction from the key issues facing local government, such as the need to reform funding and financing, and planning for long-term economic growth, housing and infrastructure, which is what our Government is focused on.

“The Government is establishing a regional deals framework and unlocking new funding and financing tools to enable central and local government to work together in delivering the services and infrastructure Kiwis rely on.” 

While the Review highlighted longstanding funding and financing issues in the local government sector, some of the review’s other recommendations were ideologically driven, such as mandating wellbeing goals and establishing a bureaucratic stewardship institution.

“The Coalition Government is focused on rebuilding the economy to reduce the cost of living for New Zealanders. We are setting clear expectations that councils focus on the delivery of core services and value for money.”