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Local Government

We’re continuing to support local government to deliver better public services and infrastructure, while restoring our environment. We’re also working to ensure local government is more inclusive and representative.

Here’s a few of the ways we’re strengthening local government in New Zealand:

Protecting our water

We know water is one of our most precious resources – and it’s one we can’t take for granted. We’ve invested $761 million to assist local government to upgrade water services, kick-starting much needed work to bring our drinking, waste, and stormwater infrastructure up to scratch. We’ve also created Taumata Arowai – a dedicated drinking water regulator to oversee our entire drinking water system, ensuring communities have access to safe drinking water.

Giving local housing a boost

We’re helping local government to help home owners and prospective home owners. We’ve worked to establish a new way of funding and financing housing infrastructure, through the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act. We’ve also increased the Rates Rebate Scheme and made it easier to access, which will help to ensure many low-income New Zealanders are able to pay their rates.

Backing biodiversity

Our regions are home to unique, diverse natural environments, and we’re helping local government to put kaitiakitanga at the heart of its work. Through the Jobs for Nature initiative, we’ve funded conservation and restoration projects that will create thousands of nature-based jobs, supporting local councils and iwi across the country. We’ve announced a new toolkit to support councils to protect and restore our indigenous biodiversity – and we’ve started overhauling the resource management system to ensure it better protects our environment.

Supporting tāngata whenua

We’re making sure Māori have a seat at the table – and that local government is able to support their aspirations for their whenua. We’ve made changes to how councils set up local wards to ensure Māori communities are better represented, and we’ve passed legislation that will allow local authorities to work with Māori land owners to reduce barriers to the development of whenua Māori. Changes to the rating system will also mean greater recognition of the communal ownership and inhabitation of whenua Māori. These measures will, importantly, strengthen the relationship between tāngata whenua and local government.

Boosting Auckland’s transport options

We’re tackling transport issues in our biggest city, while reducing emissions and upgrading critical infrastructure. We’ve agreed to a 10 year, fully funded partnership with Auckland Council to upgrade Auckland’s transport network, under the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

Working toward wellbeing

We’re making sure local government is prioritising the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of communities. We’ve reinserted the four wellbeings into the Local Government Act, we’re powering up council involvement in the design of public services, and we’re finding innovative ways of conducting community participation.

Reviewing our system

We’ve announced an independent review of local government, to investigate how our system of local democracy needs to evolve over the next 30 years to maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Labour is already rolling out our plan to invest in communities, create jobs and support New Zealanders to lead our economic recovery. That’s why we've:

  • Funded projects to create almost 11,000 nature-based jobs, supporting local councils and iwi across the country
  • Invested $761 million to assist local government to upgrade water services, kick-starting much needed work to bring our drinking, waste and stormwater infrastructure up to scratch
  • Established the Infrastructure Reference Group to work with local government to seek bids for infrastructure projects
  • Boosted investment to support the Central-Local Government Partnership Group, allowing work to continue on local government reform programmes, and supporting the development and implementation of a Local Government Recovery Plan