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LGNZ conference focused on returning power to the people

Over 550 delegates will attend the 2019 LGNZ Conference in Wellington this weekend, where a roadmap for restoring the balance between local and central government will be unveiled.

Under the conference theme of ‘Riding the localism wave: Putting communities in charge’, delegates will hear speakers from local government, business, social groups and community enterprises discuss the failings of our centralised political system, why we need to change and how we can put power and decision-making back in the hands of our communities.

Speakers include LGNZ president Dave Cull, Hon Dame Tariana Turia, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Adrian Orr, Iron Duke Partners Managing Director Phil O’Reilly, Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, and Wellington City Council Mayor Justin Lester. Central government politicians, including the Minister of Local Government, will also speak at the conference to give their views on LGNZ’s localism blueprint.

“As we saw at our Localism Symposium earlier this year, there is wide-spread recognition from across almost all sectors – be it business, iwi, or the wider public - that our diverse communities have outgrown one-size-fits-all policy making,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.

“It’s time to reform our system to let communities decide what’s best for them. The status quo, where all major decisions are made in the Beehive, consigns communities to being bystanders in their own backyards and is holding us back as a country.”

“The feedback we gained at the Localism Symposium, as well as from our members and the public over the last six months has fed into our reinvigorating local democracy discussion paper, and we’re looking forward to releasing it on Sunday.”

Among the plenary sessions being held at the conference will be discussions on housing and building, climate change and fresh water, all issues of deep concern for local communities.

“Our goal is to make New Zealand a more prosperous and dynamic place, that celebrates and capitalises on the unique features of our diverse natural and social landscape. We have bold ambitions for local government, and conference will be a chance to showcase ideas and discuss new initiatives to make this happen.”

“We recognise that the vision we’re putting forward will require councils to lift their game when it comes to performance in order to meet the obligations that localism would place on them – and the message we’re sending to the public and central government is that sector is up it.”

The LGNZ Conference will also feature the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards, on Monday 8 July, which recognise and celebrate excellent performance by local councils to promote and grow the well-being of their communities.

Updates on conference, which runs from Sunday 7 to Tuesday 9 July can be found on LGNZ’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, using the hashtags #LocalismNZ and #LGNZ19.

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