Local government

Why isn’t it one person, one vote? Abolish the ratepayer roll

Julienne Molineaux

The principle of one person, one vote doesn’t apply for local elections. In fact, you don’t even need to be a person to have voting rights. Welcome to the ratepayer roll. While the ratepayer roll accounts for less than 1% of votes cast, it is significant because it is in

Online voting FAQ

Julienne Molineaux

The trial of online voting for the October 2019 local government elections was called off last December, for cost reasons. The online voting working party, which had been organising the trial, is now calling on central government to fund online voting for the 2022 local government elections. The Local Electoral

Strengthening local voices

Jean Drage

Local government is an essential part of New Zealand’s democracy, providing local infrastructure and leadership, facilitating economic and community development along with strategic and financial planning and decision-making (in consultation with communities) on current and future key issues. Today, our local councils deal with critical issues such as protecting our

To enshrine and define local government once and for all

Christine Rose

New Zealand has one of the most centralised political systems in the OECD. Functions and finance are concentrated in the highest level of the two-tier state system, central government, with local government roles allocated at the discretion of legislation determined by central government ideologies, perceptions and preferences. Because local government’s

Saving local democracy: An agenda for the new government

Mike Reid

Local government is inhibited and enabled by central government legislation, policies, and relationships. As such, the election of a new (central) government is a good time to review policy settings for local government. The previous government (2008-2017) systematically stripped back local government in New Zealand, reducing local democracy and treating

Auckland deserves better

Ian Shirley

In his Briefing Paper published in December 2014, John Clarke wrote: “New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world”. If, like me, he had spent time in Auckland he might have singled out this city for special mention too, although I suspect John would have preferred Palmerston North.

Power imbalances in local vs central government

Christine Rose

Local government in New Zealand is a creature of statute, so it’s subservient to powers bestowed upon it by central government. From the creation of its mandate and structure, to the reforms imposed through time, local councils are, and will remain, at the mercy and discretion of the senior agent.

Pale, male and middle-aged: Auckland Council’s lack of diversity

Karen Webster

We’ve all heard the adage describing the traditional local councillor as “pale, male and middle-aged”. So, just how true is this for the Auckland Council? Research undertaken at AUT following the 2013 and the recent 2016 local government election compared the gender, ethnicity and age (2013 only) of local candidates

Subjective Assessments of the Super City

Charles Crothers

Auckland continues to be New Zealand’s bold experiment in local government reform. Is the Super City a success, a disappointment or something in between? In 2013 researchers in the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy at AUT set up and ‘populated’ a monitoring framework based on one developed by

No silver bullet: Online voting and local elections

Julienne Molineaux

Local body election time is over for another three years, and even before polls closed, there were laments over low turnout. A low turnout undermines the legitimacy of the winners and can point to wider problems: disillusionment with democratic processes, institutions and actors. It is also problematic because some groups

The South Auckland Experience under the Super City

Ben Ross

With the Super City approaching its sixth year and Aucklanders about to go through their third elections for the unitary Auckland Council, how is South Auckland faring? The new Auckland Council earmarked two areas for regeneration: the central city; and Manukau, in a project called the Southern Initiative (TSI). The

The Impact Of The Auckland Model On Local Government Reform

Mike Reid

The suggestion that Auckland has an impact beyond its borders is hardly radical. Yet it is not just the city’s economic clout that is having impact, it is also serving as a laboratory for local governance. Despite the widely held view that the Auckland model was designed to address the

Living On The Edge: Rural Views Of The SuperCity

Christine Rose

In 2010 Auckland’s eight regional, city and district councils were amalgamated into one, more or less along the old regional council boundary lines. This was seen as a victory by those seeking a regional view, and a travesty by those who feared a loss of local identity and service. Five

What Is ‘Auckland’ Anyway?

Grant Duncan

What is Auckland anyway? The kernel of what we now call Auckland was a 3,000-acre triangle of land, with Maungawhau (Mt Eden) forming one corner. This was acquired by Governor Hobson in 1840 by a purchase from Ngati Whatua chiefs. Since then, as a place with physical boundaries, ‘Auckland’ has

Local Government

Christine Cheyne

A healthy local government sector is vital for a healthy democracy. It is the tier of government that is closest to people and therefore provides access to decision-making processes at the local level. Much of our environmental and transport planning, for example, is devolved to local government. Underpinning the philosophy

Regional Development

Paul Dalziel

Regional Disparities The two maps on this page were drawn by Statistics New Zealand (the originals can be accessed in a Hot Off the Press release available here). They show the percentage changes in the populations of district and city councils between the Census of 2006 and the Census of