Mō a Mātou Mahi


This independent review is an opportunity to find new approaches to local governance that create the conditions for communities to prosper and thrive

Why review local governance?

Current local governance structures and systems were designed many years ago, and are now facing considerable pressure.

Since the 1989 reorganisation of local government and the 2002 Local Government Act, local government has become much more complex and demanding, having been dealt increasingly more responsibilities with little increase in funding or capability.

Further, planned resource management and three water reforms, if implemented as signalled, will also call into question the broader functions and roles of local government and have implications for local governance and wellbeing.

Over the next 30 years, local governments around Aotearoa will face new challenges and may need to change their role and functions.

The impacts of climate change; relationships between local government, iwi, hapū and Māori; and reforms of resource management, water infrastructure, health and education will all have implications for local governance in the future.

Ineffective local governance can create or exacerbate challenges. Effective local governance can create the conditions in which communities prosper and thrive.

This is an opportunity to consider how local democracy and governance might need to develop in order to maximise wellbeing and prosperity for all.

A three stage review

The Review is taking place in three stages, and will involve engagement with local and central government, iwi, the business sector, community organisations, young people, and the wider public. The three stages are:

Early soundings 2021 (Complete)

This first stage involved initial scoping and early engagement with local government and other organisations to help us take a future-focused look at the local governance system and identify key issues and lines of inquiry. Our interim report reflects the results of that work, and signals our broad lines of inquiry for the next stages of the Review.

Broader engagement 2021—2022 (Complete)

Stage two of our review involved broader public engagement about the future of local governance and democracy in New Zealand, alongside research and policy development. Our draft report outlines draft findings and recommendations and poses questions. Submissions on the draft report will be considered towards our final report.

Formal consultation and final report 2022—2023

The third stage will involve formal consultation about our draft recommendations. We will consider public submissions, before we deliver our final report in June 2023. Please note the updated due date for the final report, changed from April 2023 to June 2023, as agreed by the Minister of Local Government.

About the Panel

The Review Panel members were selected through the Cabinet appointment process. Careful consideration was given to the range of background and experience, including Te Ao Māori perspectives, strong connections with the community, knowledge of local government issues, and urban and rural representation.

The Panel will ensure local and central government, iwi, the business sector, community organisations, young people, and the wider public all have the opportunity engage with the Review.

Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer

Penny Hulse

Penny Hulse

Antoine Coffin

Antoine Coffin

Gael Surgenor

Gael Surgenor

Brendan Boyle

Brendan Boyle

All Panel members have completed a declaration of interest and a criminal convictions check. Those with identified perceived or actual conflicts of interest have a plan to manage that conflict of interest.

For more details, check out our conflict of interest policy.

For more details, check out our terms of reference.