Better Local Government

The Minister of Local Government Nick Smith has announced an eight point reform programme for local government.

The reforms are aimed at providing better clarity around the role of councils, stronger governance, improved efficiency and more responsible financial management.

They are part of the governments broader programme for building a more productive, competitive economy and better public services.

They were announced by the Prime Minister and the Minister on Monday March 19.

The programme will begin with a Bill to be introduced to Parliament in May and passed in September this year. The Bill will deal with the purpose of local government, the introduction of fiscal responsibility requirements, council governance provisions and streamlining council reorganisation procedures.

On behalf of the Minister the department will be providing drafting instructions for this Bill and advising the Minister on the development of it.

Other parts of the programme include work on reducing the bureaucratic costs of the Local Government Act, improving how central and local governments allocate regulatory roles, a review of development contributions and how infrastructure can be delivered more cost effectively. This work will be fed into a second reform bill proposed for 2013.

The Department of Internal Affairs is scoping this phase of the work programme.