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Future for Local Government Review

About the Future for Local Government Review

The Future for Local Government Review is an independent Ministerial review established in April 2021 to consider how New Zealand’s system of local democracy and governance will need to evolve over the next 30 years, in order to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and actively embody the Treaty partnership.

Over the next 30 years, New Zealand will change a great deal. These changes will bring new challenges and opportunities to local governance.

The country will have a larger, more diverse population and technology will change the way we live and work. Climate change will require us to adapt and reshape our economy and lives. The Treaty of Waitangi partnership will move into a new phase with an increasing focus on enduring, mutually beneficial relationships.

All of these trends have local impacts and will require local responses, meaning that effective local governance is critical to New Zealanders’ wellbeing, now and into the future.

This independent Ministerial review is an opportunity to create a new system of local governance and democracy that will effectively respond to a changing New Zealand and create conditions for communities to thrive.

The Review is taking place in three stages, with a report presented to the Minister of Local Government following each stage. These reports are: the interim report, the draft report and recommendations, and the final report.

(Taken from the Future for Local Government website.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have a review now?

It’s been more than 30 years since the last comprehensive reorganisation of local governance, and a lot has changed in that time. Local government has become much more complicated and demanding, placing the sector under pressure. Recent reviews have raised significant questions about the roles and functions of local government, and about financial sustainability and the strength of local democracy. Planned resource management and three waters reforms, along with reforms of the health and education systems, also call into question the broader functions and roles of local government and have implications for local governance and wellbeing.

Over the next 30 years, New Zealand will change and evolve, and new challenges will emerge. The impacts of climate change, demographic change, information and technology systems change, and changing relationships among central government, local government, and iwi and Māori will all have implications for local governance in the future. By reviewing now, it is possible to develop a new system that is ready to meet these challenges and strengthen community wellbeing.

(Taken from the Future for Local Government website.)

Project Timeline (tentative guide)

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Interim report (Ārewa ake te Kaupapa) released

September 2021

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Submissions on interim report closed

30 June 2022

Draft report & recommendations due for public release

28 October 2022

Public consultation on the draft report closes

28 February 2023

Final report submitted to the Minister of Local Government

19 June 2023