The Mayoral Forum hosted workshops in March and May to discuss the Future for Local Government with representatives from papatipu rūnanga and central government.
In April 2021 the Minister for Local Government announced an independent review into the future for local government. The Review will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future and focus on how New Zealand’s system of local democracy needs to evolve over the next 30 years. This includes consideration of how local government can embody the Treaty relationship.
The review panel is currently engaging with the sector, and will provide an interim report on the probable direction of the review to the Minister in September 2021, a draft report for public consultation in September 2022, and a final report in April 2023.
The Mayoral Forum has held two facilitated workshops on the future for local government, the first in March (prior to the review announcement) and the second in May.
Chairs of the 10 Canterbury papatipu rūnanga and regional representatives from central government agencies were invited to both workshops.
The purpose of the first workshop was to look at how local government can proactively support the wellbeing of whanau in local communities, and focused discussion on:
- a current assessment of local government service provision across the region
- reimagining service provision based on intergenerational wellbeing and whānau
- creating a long list of priority focus areas for an emergent strategy
- how local government leaders might take a leadership role with central government.
The purpose of the second workshop was to discuss how to contribute and influence the Review into the Future of Local Government to bring about the best possible outcomes for communities, and to revisit the priority areas from the first workshop.
Workshop guests were also invited the Mayoral Forum working dinner the night prior to the workshop, where Professor Paul Dalziel, Deputy Director of Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit at Lincoln University, spoke spoke about wellbeing economics and local government. His speech is available to watch below.
The workshop was a useful opportunity to hear directly from the Review Panel Chair and executive staff about the approach and process for the review. The workshop was the first engagement the Review Panel has undertaken. A whole of Canterbury workshop for elected members by the Review Panel is currently being arranged for 2 July; this will feed into the ‘direction of travel’ report the Panel must deliver to the Minister in September.
The second part of the workshop focused on progressing the outcomes of the first workshop. The group identified current government reforms to the health system as an advocacy opportunity prior to the new health structure taking place on 1 July. Further discussions are being sought with Canterbury and South Canterbury DHB chairs.
Links to documents summarising the discussion and outcomes from the two workshops are below.