What We Do
Local Government – What does it do?
Local Councils promote the well-being of local communities.
We work with the community to enhance social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being now and for the future.
While Parliament is elected to deal with issues relevant to New Zealand and its people as a nation, local government enables democratic local decision making.
This recognises that not all communities are the same, nor do they have the same issues.
You elect councillors as your representatives to make local decisions taking account of local issues, needs and priorities. This means councils may make
Flourishing communities need:
- Sustained economic development and new jobs
- A healthy and safe environment
- Supportive community networks
- A vibrant and developing culture and identity
- A stable political climate.
Local government has an important role in helping secure these outcomes.
Local Government affects you daily.
Many of your everyday activities are dependent on services provided by our local district council.
These range from water flowing freely from your taps, applying for a building permit, finding a car park so you can borrow books from the library, taking your children to the park, putting out the rubbish for collection, to walking your dog at night along well-lit streets.
Other important local government activities include:
- Writing and managing plans for your area’s development , including management of the natural and urban environment.
- Making bylaws and enforcing them
- Participating in community partnerships and initiatives such as reducing crime, increasing jobs or access to housing.
- Civil Defence planning and emergency preparedness.
Councils are made up of members of the public elected in local authority elections held every three years.
Each Council decides how to structure itself to work on behalf of its community.
The council is led by the Mayor, who provides leadership and direction to the council and community, and chairs meetings. They are often seen as the public face of the council.
Councils generally establish committees to look at areas of their work. These might include environmental planning and regulatory services, resource consents, finance, works and services, community development and well-being, or land transport.
These committees usually make recommendations for consideration and approval by council, but they are sometimes delegated the power to make decisions.
Councils may also convene sub-committees to examine specialist areas.
Some activities must be approved by the full council. These include:
- Setting rates
- Borrowing money
- Buying or selling some types of land
- Adopting major council documents such as the long term council community plan or annual report.