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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Friday, November 29 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Local Government in New Zealand

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Andy Asquith, John Martin
What does ‘fit-for-purpose' local government look like in Australia and New Zealand?
The wave of public sector managerial and structural reforms known as the ‘New Zealand Model’ were extended to local government in New Zealand by legislation passed in 1989. Alongside the NZ reforms, Australia too was implementing significant changes in the way its local authorities operated. It is therefore fitting that some 30 years after the various Acts that comprised the enabling legislation were passed, that the reforms are examined to assess their impact on local government – specifically their ‘fitness-for-purpose’. How do we determine if a local government system is fit-for-purpose? That is, that the individual local authorities within the nation or provincial state are creating and facilitating sustainable and resilient communities in an efficient and effective manner? Using data derived from interviews and documentation in the public domain, we have identified the following five factors:1. Do they have an effective mandate? Do the local authorities have the commensurate authority to plan and manage their communities? Is the principle of subsidiarity evident in the working relationship between individual (neighbouring) authorities, regional bodies, provincial government (in federations) and central government? 2. Is their modus-operandi outcome focussed? Are the local authorities plans and actions outcomes focussed regardless of whether they have authority over an issue? Do they work with other institutions and organisations to achieve outcomes that meet the greatest needs of the greatest numbers? 3. Do they build effective and appropriate working relationships with businesses who deliver works and services as contractors and consultants? 4. Does their governance reflect agreed individual and team roles in their day to day management? Are elected members aware of and focussed on their governance role complemented by the work of the CEO and staff? 5. Does the local authority have well-structured and meaningful processes and programs that engage stakeholders across their community and without (as appropriate)?

Karen Webster, Andy Asquith, Andrew Cardow, Lara Greaves
Political Parties in New Zealand local government: Is Auckland an anomaly?
Political parties have been an accepted and dominant presence in many representative democratic local governments, specifically, in the UK, and Northern Europe, throughout the 20th century. In New Zealand and Australia however, citizens of similarly representative democratic institutions have consistently expressed their repugnance for the idea of national politics influencing local governance (Bush 1980). Recent research across New Zealand’s five metro centres has identified that the influence of national party politics in Auckland local government is stronger than across the other centres. This paper presents an analysis of the declared political affiliation of Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin local government elected representatives, across four local elections between 2007 and 2016. While evidence suggests that national political party involvement in Auckland is on the rise, this is not mirrored in the other five metro-centres. government.

Mike Reid
Reinvigorating local democracy – LGNZ’s localism campaign and the prospects for decentering government in NZ

New Zealand is widely recognised as one of the most centralised states in the OECD in which power and authority has come to be concentrated in the hands of a relatively unchecked national administration. LGNZ (the association of local authorities) with a range of other organisations, such as the NZ Initiative, is promoting an active programme of decentralisation leading up to, and beyond, the 2020 general election.
The presentation for the local government panel will briefly cover the following: How “localism” is defined and interpreted in the NZ context; the reasons behind the decision to launch national campaign promoting decentralisation and localism; an outline of the campaign and its objectives; the historical and political context in which the campaign to promote localism is situated, including challenges to be overcome; update on progress.


Julienne Molineaux

AUT University

avatar for Andy Asquith

Andy Asquith

Public Management Group, Massey University

Lara Greaves

Lara Greaves
avatar for Mike Reid

Mike Reid

Local Government New Zealand

Karen Webster

AUT University

John Martin

La Trobe University

Friday November 29, 2019 3:30pm - 5:00pm NZDT
E7 Engineering Core