An independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve, long into the future.
Announcing the review today, Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta said it would focus on how our system of local democracy needed to evolve over the next 30 years.
Mahuta said that now more than ever, local governance participation needed to be strengthened.
The approach was needed to improve wellbeing of communities and the environment, she said, and it needed to honour Te Tiriti O Waitangi too.
It had been more than 30 years since the last meaningful review of the sector, Mahuta said, and councils were facing a wave of reforms that would significantly affect their traditional roles and functions.
The review panel would consider what local government does, how it does it, how it pays for it, and explore local government's future, including:
• roles, functions and partnerships
• representation and governance
• funding and financing
The panel will be chaired by Jim Palmer, recently retired chief executive of the Waimakariri District Council.
Other panel members are former Deputy State Services Commissioner John Ombler, strategic planning consultant Antoine Coffin, Gael Surgenor and former Auckland deputy mayor and councillor Penny Hulse. It is due to report back in April 2023.
A briefing paper last year from the Department of Internal Affairs to the minister on how councils were funded and operated raised several problems facing local and regional authorities around the country that needed to be addressed, including Auckland's governance arrangements.