Instead of relying on central government to decide what is good for our communities it is time to empower councils and communities themselves to make such decisions, Local Government New Zealand and The New Zealand Initiative say.
LGNZ and the Initiative have launched their Localism project. Together, they call for devolution and decentralisation in the way New Zealand is run.
Releasing a joint position statement, LGNZ President Dave Cull said New Zealand needs to restore the balance between local and central government.
“Both tiers of government must work together, each contributing what they do best,” says Cull in a media release.
“Centralised countries tend to be less wealthy and have lower standards of living. New Zealand is among the most centralised countries in the world. We should not expect central government in Wellington to be the best decision-maker for every local problem. Communities often know best what they need.”
“This means that services will be more responsive, better focused on local issues and delivered in a manner which is consistent with local values and cultures,” says Cull. “This will give local citizens, iwi/Māori organisations, businesses and community groups a greater say.”
The New Zealand Initiative’s executive director Dr Oliver Hartwich added, “After more than a century of centralism, New Zealand needs to go local. Councils and communities must be able to make their own decisions about their future.”
The joint project between LGNZ and The New Zealand Initiative is calling for a shift in the way public decisions are made in New Zealand by seeking a commitment to localism.