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Symposium: NZ’s political system broken

LGNZ’s Localism Symposium heard today how New Zealand’s highly centralised political system is failing New Zealand and we need to devolve decision making and power to improve community wellbeing.

The NZ Initiative launched their #localismNZ: bringing power to the people report, which illustrated how Beehive-centric decision making has dragged on New Zealand’s economic performance and dynamism. This was followed by LGNZ’s localism discussion paper which put out a framework for devolution and greater local decision-making.

The event was attended by a broad range of stakeholders including representatives from iwi, parliament, local government, business, central government ministries and social services. Their feedback on the framework was that New Zealand’s political system needs to develop more incentives for communities, which will drive better economic, environmental, cultural and social outcomes.

“LGNZ has long advocated for devolved decision making and today we put up a framework proposing how to do this as we wanted to road test and develop our ideas before we start advocating for them,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.

“A strong theme in the feedback was that the devolution of decision-making needs to stop being theoretical and be put into action.”

“We were pleasantly surprised by the positive response we received and the constructive ideas aimed at helping improve our framework further.”

“This correlates with our own surveys of the public which show that only 30% of New Zealanders are opposed to devolving decision-making power down to communities.”

LGNZ’s draft Localism Discussion Paper will be circulated among councils and stakeholders for further feedback and discussion before a final paper is presented at LGNZ’s Conference and AGM in July.

“A number of issues are being treated with one size fits all policy, resulting in regional issues - oil and gas decisions in Taranaki, polytechs in Invercargill, the national motorway rollout, regional fuel taxes for Auckland but no one else – the list goes on.”

“Central government imposes national policies without cost benefit analysis on the impacts for local communities, leaving local government, as those communities elected representatives, to lobby for compensation or policy adjustment. Central government priorities are often not our communities priorities.”

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