> Local and Regional Government
Local and Regional Government
Council's role has two essential elements. On one hand, it is required to provide the people of the Ruapehu District with responsible leadership. This means that it often has to make decisions that do not suit everybody - especially when they impact on people financially. On the other hand, it is there to represent the interests of all people. It has to consider and be respectful of the views, preferences and desires of the local community. It is Council's job to balance the community's wishes and dreams with its estimation of what can be afforded.
Council has a difficult balancing act - for every service that it provides for the community and, for every service it would like to provide, it has to make sensible decisions about how to obtain the resources that will be needed.
Refer to A-Z Index for services Council provides.
Introduction to Local Government
Local government is the major provider of many services to the people of New Zealand and has to understand the needs of the communities that it serves. It exists to provide its communities with essential services like roading, sewerage and refuse collection, but also for the wellbeing of communities. For communities to flourish they need:
- Sustainable economic development and new jobs.
- A healthy and safe environment.
- Social cohesiveness.
- A vibrant and developing culture and identity.
- A stable political and economic climate.
Local government has a profound role to play in securing these outcomes for all communities. Local Government New Zealand is the national voice of local government. It represents the diversity and local democracy of the metropolitan areas, the districts, the rural communities and the regions of New Zealand.
Local government is one of the two branches of government in New Zealand and, while governed strictly by statutes, is accountable to communities. Local government is a structure established by the national government and is given enabilng legislation as government's agency to provide a number of local services. It is not a direct Treaty of Waitangi partner, but is subject to the principles of the Treaty and also the outcomes of negotiations between the two Treaty partners (the Crown and Iwi).
Local authorities comprise:
- 12 regional councils.
- 74 territorial authorities, consisting of 15 city and 59 district councils.
Under the current Local Government Act, councils are subject to planning and management disciplines, including:
- Preparing Long Term Plan (LTP) forecasts, including funding, borrowing management and investment policies, in consultation with their communities.
- Reporting annually on performance in relation to plans.
- Adopting accrual accounting practices.
- Valuing their assets.
- Separating policy/regulatory from operational functions.
- Preparing policies and plans concerning other functions, especially resource management, land transport and biosecurity.
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