Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Pacific \ Local government service delivery

Equitable and efficient service delivery is at the heart of local government’s mandate. The resources in this section focus on the management and delivery of key strategic, corporate and technical services, ranging from those for which local government has direct responsibility, to shared service provision, and services for which local government is a partner.


  • Climate change management and adaption
  • Environmental management
  • Social services
  • Spatial/development planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Waste management and sanitation
  • Water and utilities
  • Partnerships for service delivery
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure


Well-being at the Local Level

The Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington’s Health and Wellbeing distinctiveness theme steering group, hosted a symposium on ‘The Four Wellbeings for Local Government’ on 26 February 2019. The symposium heard brief presentations from eight invitees from local government, central government, the private sector and NGOs: Justin Lester, Lyn Patterson, Karen Thomas, Peter McKinlay, Wayne Mulligan, Meg Williams, Danielle Shanahan and Suzy Morrissey. Inspired by these addresses and by the ensuing discussion, this article considers what the reintroduction of the ‘four well-beings’ into the Local Government Act might mean for local decision making.

Author: Arthur Grimes Publisher: Policy Quarterly Publication year: 2019

Localism - let’s do this

This article explores the emergence of localism as a key concept in local governance. It distinguishes between devolution, subsidiarity and localism, and examines how current policy development in New Zealand still reflects a very top-down understanding of governance. It then argues that local government has all the powers required to put in place a radical practice of localism and explains how.

Author: Peter McKinlay Publisher: Policy Quarterly Publication year: 2019

Localism in Aotearoa through a community-led lens

A Focus on the How not the Who: localism in Aotearoa through a community-led lens. Emerging localism discussions in Aotearoa must look further than a structured devolution of roles and responsibilities from central to local government. New operating models are needed that build from local wisdom and leadership to actively involve and empower local communities and iwi/Mäori as genuine partners in decision- and solution-making for their places. Taking a ‘learning by doing’ focus to incentivise and support local stakeholders to better work together is essential. Future localist success will require greater power sharing and concerted trust building at all levels.

Author: Megan Courtney Publisher: Policy Quarterly Publication year: 2019

Is Australian Local Government Ready for Localism?

Localism is widely supported as an antidote to what are seen as the adverse impacts of globalisation and one-size-fits-all, top-down central government. But interpretations of localism and views on how it should be practised vary greatly. This presents particular challenges for local government, which typically sees itself as the rightful beneficiary of a localism agenda focused on devolution and decentralisation, but must then confront difficult questions about its own institutional frameworks, its revenue base, and sharing power with local communities. While local government in New Zealand is exploring these issues through a national Localism project, its counterparts in Australia seem ill-prepared to follow suit.

Author: Graham Sansom Publisher: Policy Quarterly Publication year: 2019

Where are the Locals?

Localism is about citizens, not town halls. It engages, encourages and empowers citizens and their formal, semi-formal and informal groupings, street level to citywide, including not-for-profits. To be effective and constructive, citizen-centric localism needs to be bottom-up, not just top-down, driven by iterative interaction to fashion thought-through decisions. Digital technology enables this in ways not possible a decade ago. Local councils are the right level of government to develop and refine that interaction and thereby revitalise local – and in time national – democracy.

Author: Colin James Publisher: Policy Quarterly Publication year: 2019

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