In ten years, how important do you think local government will be in New Zealand, and why?.
Local government has been an integral and evolving part of government in for nearly all of its history. However, during the past 20 years, there as been a rapid evolution in the forms which local governments takes, and the roles they play in the nation. In many respects, local government always has been one of the most visible and accessible forms of government for the citizen, as it is the one, which, for all intensive purposes, provides the most tangible goods and services to the consumer. .
The structure of government in New Zealand is stratified into two distinct layers. The national government remains the supreme decision making body for the state. However, under the Local Government Act, provisions have been made for regional and local government bodies. In the case of Dunedin, for example, the Otago Regional Council (ORC) addresses issues, which broadly affect stakeholders over a larger area e.g. regional civil defence, regional development, and increasingly environment issues such as effluent disposal and the implementation of sustainable development plans. The ORC also collects funds in order to continue its operations. Dunedin City Council, however, deals with issues such as local road, and rubbish collection, as well as park, just to name a few services. The local government unit has grown in size and importance since the middle of last century, where it was described as "a somewhat chaotic, disordered conglomerate of varying size of county and borough, along with a number of "ad hoc bodies- Today, the number of local bodies stands at just 74, of these, 15 are city councils, and the rest are district councils. The reason there has been a rationalization in the number of local government bodies is twofold: firstly, many smaller councils either chose to, or were forcibly, amalgamate with others in order to provide more services to the community, and to increase efficiency.