Submissions to the Review into the Future for Local Government

Closed 28 Feb 2023

Opened 28 Oct 2022


Fit for the future local government

Today’s communities face a host of challenges including climate change, pandemics, biodiversity loss and growing social and economic inequity.

We are at a time of change, and a moment in history where we need to shift to new ways of working, to living our lives more sustainably, to transition to a greener economy, to utilise new technologies, and to fully acknowledge our social and Te Tiriti o Waitangi responsibilities.

Throughout our research and engagement so far, we’ve heard that significant change is required to many aspects of the local government system. These changes must maximise the wellbeing and resilience of communities and strengthen local democratic decision-making now and into the future.

A future system of local governance will need the agility and capacity to evolve and respond to an ever-changing environment, drawing on the capabilities of local authorities, central government, hapū, iwi, Māori, business, communities and citizens as needed. It will need to adapt as new challenges and issues arise, from social cohesion to new patterns of work, migration and travel. It will need to rebuild trust and confidence in civil society and be truly representative of our communities.

Local government has a fundamental role in responding to these increasingly complex issues and raising the wellbeing of communities. Renewal and change are required to ensure that the sector is ready and able to play this critical role.

The kaupapa of the Review

The Review into the Future for Local Government was established in April 2021 by the Minister of Local Government as an independent, two-year Ministerial Review. The Review Panel (the Panel) comprises of Jim Palmer (Chair), Penny Hulse, Gael Surgenor, Antoine Coffin, and Brendan Boyle.

The purpose of the Review is to identify how our system of local democracy and governance needs to evolve over the next 30 years, to improve the wellbeing of New Zealand communities and the environment, and actively embody Te Tiriti partnership.

The Review process is phased in three stages to reflect the three key deliverables: an interim, draft and final report. The Panel has, and will continue to, engage with local and central government, iwi, hapū, the business sector, community organisations, young people, and the wider public to inform their work.

Having engaged widely over the past 18 months, the draft report has now been published. This report signals the beginning of the third phase of the Review. The Review is now undertaking a submissions process to gather public feedback on the recommendations, findings, and questions ahead of the final report. 

Because the Panel’s thinking has and will continue to evolve, this report is not a ‘draft’ of the final report. Rather, it reflects the Panel’s thinking to date, and acts as a provocation posing questions that, with further input from others, will help shape the final report that is due in June 2023.

Draft report

The Review published the draft report on 28 October 2022.

The draft report is available on the Review website:

You’ll also find supplementary information throughout the submission portal.

Want to hear more

The Panel will be hosting a series of webinars for the general public on the draft report. For more information visit the Review’s event page here.

Why your views matter

This Review provides a significant ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity for us all to reimagine our future and think about how local government should evolve over the next 30 years and beyond. Your submission will help to shape the final report which is due in June 2023.

The Panel welcomes your feedback on each chapter including the questions and recommendations within the draft report.

Once we receive your submission

The Review will not hold any contact details for any submissions received. You will have the option to provide your email address to receive an automated receipt of your submission, along with a response ID. Should you need to contact the Review about your submission you will need to provide this unique response ID.

The Review will not be sending personalised responses and you can trust that any information submitted through this site has been received by the Review. Only formal written submissions will be accepted at this time.

Please note that all or part of any written submission the Review receives, including your name, may be published on this website following the close of the submissions period. You will be asked to provide consent to share your submission with the option to include or remove your name.

All submissions to the Review will be moderated before they are be published online. See our transparency and moderation statement here.