Story: Nation and government

Page 8. Local government

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A subordinate position

Local government in New Zealand is independent of, but subordinate to, central government. Local government gives consents under the Resource Management Act for different activities. The boundaries of local authorities are defined by the Local Government Commission.

Territorial local authorities

In September 2011 there were 67 city (mainly urban) or district (rural, or both rural and urban) councils. Some local matters were handled by 147 community boards, which are independently elected. They were funded by and reported to a city or district council. City and district councils provide a wide range of services, from public libraries to waste-water treatment.

Regional councils

In 2011, 11 regional councils had responsibility for the environment and public transport. Regions can embrace several cities or districts. In addition six councils were ‘unitary authorities’ – a single elected council acting as both regional and city or district council.

Local elections

City, district and regional councils and community boards are elected at triennial local elections. The mayors of cities and districts are directly elected.

Local taxes

City, district and regional councils have the power to levy rates (taxes on land and buildings) to fund their activities.

How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'Nation and government - Local government', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 December 2018)

Story by John Wilson, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 16 Sep 2016