Kāpiti Coast Councillor Gwynn Compton has written to parties across Parliament urging them to work together to establish a Royal Commission on Local Government.
He wants an overhaul of the sector so it can deal with challenges it is unable to address at present.
“Our current local government arrangements were put in place more than 30 years ago.
“The system isn’t coping’
“From looking around the country, it’s clear the system isn’t coping with the challenges such as rapid population growth, making up for decades of underinvestment in infrastructure, dealing with massive reforms of both the Three Waters and Resource Management Act, playing its part in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change,” says Cr Compton.
While Cr Compton’s call for a Royal Commission represents his own personal view and not that of Kāpiti Coast District Council, he says he’s aware of significant support for reform from both elected members and the communities they serve across New Zealand.
“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the structure and financing of local government isn’t a good fit for the challenges it now finds itself facing. “
An example, he says, is its heavy dependence on property rates to fund the services and community facilities it provides. He says this has been shown to be unsustainable in the long-term.