We have supported stronger and more transparent governance through working with Local Government, Ministers and the Executive

Stronger and more transparent governance across local and central government

The Central Local Government Partnership (CLGP) provides leadership on government-wide responses to key strategic challenges facing the local government sector. This work involves collaborating with central and local government to engage communities and assisting in achieving conditions for enduring wellbeing.

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Over the past year, there have been advancements in several areas to support stronger and more transparent governance across local and central government.

Local government is critical to deliver local outcomes in our communities and councils had advocated for the restoration of wellbeing to the Local Government Act. The Department supported the Bill through to enactment. Enacting the Bill amended the Local Government Act 2002 to restore the promotion of social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing to the purpose of local government. This change has been well received by local government and effectively allows local government to be explicit in its consideration of wellbeing in local decision making.

The Department continued to provide advisory and administrative support for the Local Government Commission (LGC) to engage and support local authorities and communities to achieve fit-for-purpose governance structure. LGC issued a final reorganisation proposal in September 2018 for the West Coast region and was involved in the implementation process for a combined West Coast District Plan. LGC also completed 35 council representation reviews (including Auckland, ECan and Kaipara) by April 2019, in preparation for the 2019 local government elections.

Supporting statutory inquiries and Royal Commissions

We have enhanced trust in government and improved transparency by supporting statutory inquiries and Royal Commissions which investigate matters of national significance and effect positive change for New Zealanders.

During 2018/19, the Department supported the government to establish three new inquiries into matters of national significance. We are currently providing administrative support to two Royal Commissions and two Government Inquiries. We established, administered and supported the following six inquiries throughout the year:

  • the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction
  • the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions
  • the Government Inquiry into Operation Burnham and other matters
  • the Government Inquiry into the Appointment of a Deputy Commissioner of Police
  • the Government Inquiry into Auckland Fuel Supply Disruption
  • the Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019.

This year saw the largest number of inquiries ever supported at one time. As such, we are working with relevant agencies to develop a cross-government system to establish and support inquiries with the ability to expand and contract as necessary.

Paul James and Sir Anand Satyanand

Paul James and Sir Anand Satyanand signing the Memorandum of Understanding for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care

Effective stewardship of the policy and regulatory systems

We delivered priority projects, as well as consideration of longer-term issues that are important for the effective stewardship of the policy and regulatory systems which we’re responsible for.

One of these projects was a key piece of policy work undertaken to revitalise the racing industry.

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The Review of the New Zealand Racing Industry report (‘the Messara Report’) was released on 30 August 2018 and found that the New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline, requiring urgent reform.

We supported and developed a plan to address the recommendations of the Report and to deliver better governance and economic outcomes for the racing industry.

During the year we worked across a wide range of policy-related areas which included leading a comprehensive project to modernise the Charities Act 2005, providing options to strengthen the contributions of Archives New Zealand, the National Library and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision to New Zealand’s culture and democracy; and working with the local government sector on options for a more enduring platform for voting in local elections.

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