This session brought together panelists Dr Mike Reid, Principal Policy Advisor, LGNZ, Michael Macaulay is Professor of Public Administration at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, and Anne Molineux, Associate Director, Deloitte to discuss the key issues faced by local government and how we can change to meet these, while recognising the need for our local body institutions to continually evolve to ensure they are future proofing to meet upcoming challenges.
Points of interest to come out of the session included:
- 95% of all taxes go to Central government with just 5% of all taxes going to local government! Yet local government is essentially "NZ government by local means”. The panelists did not see the balance of power and resource as ideal and noted research that affirms a greater level of decentralisation, has been shown to be effective in many countries.
- There was a strong plea for genuine co-design of the legislation and regulations together between central and local government. The two parts of government should assess and develop the best balance of power and resources, rather than central government specifying or dictating to the extent happens now.
- There are some contested areas between central and local government, with homelessness in the big cities being an example, outside the resourcing constraints of local government, but seen to be their responsibility. In relation to climate change, one panelist said that local government have a role in relation to adaptation, but should be empowered to have more of a role in mitigation. Some research has measured the amount of infrastructure which will be impacted by sea level rise. It is significant, without real clarity about who pays for this.