Waha: Using our Voice to Advocate for Positive Change

In late February we submitted on the Future for Local Government Review. You can read the review report here.

The WWP has submitted on this report because of the important and far reaching recommendations it makes about the form, function and role of local government in New Zealand. Like the review panel, we are not overly concerned with administrative boundaries, are and more interested in how local government functions in contemporary communities which re diverse, complex and dynamic.

Some of the key points we made include:

·       We noted that wellbeing is an intensely local, and even personal thing, and that it should not be prescribed or defined from a top-down perspective- for example in legislation.

·       We strongly supported the focus which the review put on subsidiarity and putting locals first in any local government/governance framework.

·       We encouraged a framework which is more accommodating of calculated risk taking and innovation at the local level.

·       We strongly supported the exploration of local innovation labs, where new ideas and approaches can be developed from the flax-roots level.

·       While we agreed with the report’s encouragement  of interdependent governance, we noted that there needs to be the right incentives (and disincentives) in place to give greater certainty to desired outcomes and behaviours

·       We agreed wit the report that at present, councils are required to define community outcomes in a way which tends to result in results focused on services delivered by councils. A more independent and less output focus might lead to better knowledge about what drives local wellbeing, enabling better decision making and the lowest level possible.

You can read our full submission here.