Local mayors have reacted to Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta's announcement of an independent review of local government.
Mahuta said the review would explore how councils could maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they served long into the future, and would focus on how New Zealand's system of local democracy needed to evolve over the next 30 years.
Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said he welcomed the announcement and anticipated it would yield positive results.
"It is an independent review and they are going to take the necessary amount of time to complete it.
"There hasn't been a review since the 1990s and a lot has changed over that time."
McDouall said he did not believe the review indicated that the Government lacked confidence in local authorities.
"Covid-19 proved how well councils managed in an emergency with Civil Defence and community support," he said.
"The review is an opportunity to examine the roles of local and central government and how some responsibilities might be managed better at a central level and vice versa."
Mahuta had been in the Local Government Minister role for four years, providing good continuity and communication, McDouall said.
"Under the previous Government, we had eight different ministers in a nine-year timeframe which didn't make for good continuity."
Rangitikei mayor Andy Watson said the minister's announcement left him with a lot of questions.
"Exactly what will the responsibilities of councils look like?
"The reality is that the Three Waters Reform Programme indicates an intention to reduce the role of councils.
"We need to respond strongly and ask a lot of questions."
Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron said he believed the review was cause for optimism and he was choosing a "glass half-full approach" to the news.
"I think it is timely as councils have seen a lot of new Government legislation without a lot of help with expenses over a long time," Cameron said.
"The minister has really been listening to councils and I'm optimistic that this review will lead to better support for councils from the Government.
"Ratepayers have been meeting the costs of things that should really be centrally funded and I am optimistic that we will see some positive outcomes. It is time for a reset."
Mahuta said that now more than ever, local governance participation needed to be strengthened.
The approach was needed to improve the wellbeing of communities and the environment, she said, and it needed to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi too.
She said councils were facing a wave of reforms that would significantly affect their traditional roles and functions.
The review panel will 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.
It is due to report back in April 2023.