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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Local Government Reform

From shortly after its inauguration in 1876 the structure of local government in New Zealand has been the cause of much dissatisfaction, primarily because of the proliferation of local authorities of all types. In the 70 years to 1946 it was investigated by select committees of the House of Representatives on five occasions (1889, 1890, 1938 (2), and 1944–45), and once by an administrative committee (1932). Each inquiry confirmed the need for consolidation. In the same period five Bills designed to effect a major reorganisation of local government were introduced into Parliament in 1895, 1912 (2), 1932, and 1937. There was a parliamentary motion to the same purpose in 1927, while various Governments have over the years promised to effect reform. The 1944–45 inquiry was the only one of these moves which led to any definite action. The failure to adopt earlier recommendations showed very clearly that the prospect of reform by direct parliamentary action was remote. The idea of empowering an extra-parliamentary commission to act in this field, although first put forward in 1895, took 50 years to achieve actuality.