Central-local government relations

Briefing paper

12 Mar 2019

This paper continues the conversation about localism in New Zealand, and considers the degree of autonomy from central government that local government has in undertaking its role.


28 Feb 2019

This publication explains the rationale behind localism and responds to commonly heard objections. It explains how unusual New Zealand's centralism is when compared internationally. New Zealand's councils have limited fiscal autonomy. Their mandate is also much more restricted that local government in other parts of...

Briefing paper

27 Nov 2018

This paper discusses New Zealand's centralised political system, and considers what this means for local government reform.

Policy report

13 Sep 2018

The policy initiatives outlined in this document will provide every council and federal member with the opportunity to deliver tangible outcomes to every community in Australia.


17 Jul 2018

These guidelines will help councils with their compliance, monitoring and enforcement (CME) responsibilities under the Resource Management Act.

Journal article

4 Apr 2018

This paper examines the leadership of places – cities, regions, communities – in Australia, Finland, Germany, Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom, and explores the capacity of vignettes to generate new, theoretical and empirical insights.


18 Nov 2017

This independent report on the economic situation on Norfolk Island, following the Australian Government takeover of governance of the island last year, warns the island’s economy is heading for disaster as a result of spiralling costs and inappropriate regulation.

Working paper

15 Sep 2017

This paper develops a theoretical model of fiscal equalisation and uses the model to derive an optimal equalisation formula that has general applicability for federations.


18 Aug 2017

An independent review recommended that the Australian Government cease the Regional Development Australia Program. Instead, the Australian Government will refocus the RDA Program so that RDA Committees move beyond their previous planning role and into a more active and facilitative role, effectively being brokers for...


18 Aug 2017

This report shines a light on inadequate governance and mismanagement of key areas of responsibility within the Central Goldfields Shire Council.


3 Aug 2017

This document discusses the gaps in Australia’s emergency management legislation and the coordination of federal, state and local disaster management arrangements in Australia. It analyses key legislation from the UK and US jurisdictions and reveals important lessons that could be adopted in Australia.


3 Jul 2017

The Fraser, Howard and Abbott governments tended to “stick to their knitting,” treating cities, urban policy and public transport as the realm of state governments. Turnbull is bucking this trend.

Discussion paper

1 May 2017

This discussion paper attempts to provide some insight into the creation of two new provinces in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2012.

Conference paper

16 Feb 2017

Economic development is a priority of all levels of government; irrespective of country, constitution or system of governance. This is particularly the case in Australia, where federal, state and local tiers of government are undertaking activities intended to support economic growth. However, roles and responsibilities...


20 Dec 2016

Undertaking experiments in public policy is like any other innovation – it requires a mix of disruption, a committed and talented team, and, most importantly, the courage of leaders to let go of bad rules and explore new ways of doing things. This approach can...

Policy report

12 Dec 2016

A review of the Regional Development Australia program recommends that the program cease operation and be replaced by a new Australian Regional Business Advisory Board, a network of Directors of Regional Development, a Regional Collaboration Fund and a Regional Investment Commissioner.

Journal article

30 Nov 2016

The decision to put the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) on hold in September 2016 demonstrates clearly the strength that local government has as a unified political voice within New Zealand's democracy. In a smilar way to what occured uin 1989...

Journal article

30 Nov 2016

This article looks at constitutional and contractual resolutions to central-local relations, looking to see in what ways each approach could benefit the power and autonomy of local councils.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler recently released their draft constitution for New Zealand, which joins...


30 Nov 2016

Editorial note: Local government in New Zealand exists within a fairly well-defined narrative. New Zealand is the most centralised nation within the OECD. Central government is by far the dominant partner in the central-local relationship and recent innovations in local government have tended towards further...


21 Nov 2016

This is the final report in a New Zealand Initiative series on local government. It aims to restore accountability, transparency and community responsibility to local government. We propose doing this by setting clear roles for each tier of government, with limits on the ability of...



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