Initial thoughts on Ārewa ake te Kaupapa, Raising the platform: Review into the Future of Local Govt
I've been waiting for the interim report on the future of local government and it's here. Check it out at https://www.futureforlocalgovernment.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/DIA_16724_Te-Arotake-Future-of-Local-Government_Interim-report_22.pdf
I'm focusing on three key points the report makes. There are many others.
Climate change, technology, Treaty partnership, the economy: all are likely to change in ways we can't predict. (It's good to see a report that recognises the fog of the future, rather than honing in on one possible vision.)
One size doesn't fit all. Any new local council structures should be tailored to meet the needs of diverse communities. (Great point. The monolithic approach to structure won't work. After all, at the moment, Auckland Council serves a population of 1.7 million - by far the biggest - while the Chathams Council serves 760 people.) Local government needs to reflects the very diverse communities it's serving.)
Local councils need to collaborate more. (Agreed. Many face the same challenges and provide the same services. Surely this is a must. The Smart Libraries system that operates in the Wellington region is a great example.)
The review panel will continue its work and engage widely with local government and beyond in 2022. A final report is due in April 2023: just before the next general election. Timing is everything.
This review is a great opportunity to re-think the future of local government. Here's hoping we can move forward and create a renewed and refreshed sector that contributes to our wellbeing. It's a huge challenge but one we can meet.
Make your submission online at futureforlocalgovernment.govt.nz