With the October local elections and final counts complete, it is clear that the public put great faith in councils to shape the well-being of their communities. This is based on the fact a larger than usual group of people stood for local public office, and who got voted in represented a far more diverse group of people than in previous elections.
The challenge will be of course to see whether that faith is rewarded, as councils look to find ways to meet expectations with the limited policy tools at their disposal.
New members are likely to find that many of the issues that they stood to address depend on the agreement of specific Ministers, be it implementing a congestion charge or beefing up public transport. With central government raising and controlling 95% of all taxes and local government just the 5%, effective local governance must be collaborative, however there is no guarantee that policy makers in the capital will share or be sympathetic to local priorities. Ultimately a rebalancing between the two orders of government is required.
Your views are needed now. LGNZ wants to know your views on how best to empower communities. Check out our Discussion Document and tell us what you think.