About Local Government

About Local Government
Council's Role
Council's Vision

Local government is a vital cog in the wheel of democracy. It is the major provider of many services to the people of New Zealand and has to understand the needs of the communities that it serves. It exists to provide its communities with essential services, such as roading, sewerage and refuse collection, and also

  • Sustainable economic development and new jobs
  • A healthy and safe environment
  • Social cohesiveness
  • A vibrant and developing culture and identity
  • A stable political and economic climate

Local Government has a profound role to play in securing these outcomes for all communities. Local Government New Zealand is the national voice of local government. It represents the diversity and local democracy of the metropolitan areas, the districts, the rural communities, and the regions of New Zealand.

Local Government is one of the two branches of government in New Zealand and while governed strictly by statutes, is accountable to communities.

Local authorities comprise:
  • 12 regional councils
  • 74 territorial authorities (consisting of 15 city councils and 59 district councils).

Under the current Local Government Act, councils are subject to planning and management disciplines including:

  • Preparing Annual Plan and Long Term Plan forecasts, including funding, borrowing management and investment policies, in consultation with their communities
  • Reporting annually on performance in relation to plans
  • Adopting accrual accounting practices
  • Valuing their assets
  • Separating policy/regulatory from operational functions
  • Preparing policies and plans concerning other functions, especially resource management, land transport and biosecurity

Council's Role

Council's role has two essential elements. On one hand, it is required to provide the people of the South Waikato with responsible leadership. This means that it often has to make decisions that do not suit everybody especially when those decisions impact on people financially. On the other hand, it is there to represent the interests of all people. We need to consider and be respectful of the views, preferences and desires of the local community. It is our job to balance the community's wishes and dreams with our estimation of what can be afforded.

Council has a difficult balancing act for every service that it provides for the community, and for every service that it would like to provide, it has to make sensible decisions about how to obtain the resources that will be needed.

Council's Vision

It is important that Council outlines its vision, well-beings and the outcomes to be achieved. These are listed below:
Council’s vision is to have ‘Healthy people thriving in a safe, vibrant and sustainable community’.
There are nine outcomes Council aims to achieve to make the vision a reality. They are:
  • Engaged community: We encourage and support an engaged social community through the provision of our services and facilities
  • Safe and healthy community: We regulate, advocate for, and support where we can, improved safety and health for our people
  • Improving image: We focus on improving the image and perception of the South Waikato District
  • Growing economy: We support and encourage existing businesses and endeavour to attract new businesses to the district
  • Diverse economy: We encourage the economic base in the district to diversify, especially in relation to tourism
  • Sustainable environment: We want the South Waikato District Council to lead the community in sustainable development
  • Well managed environment: Council's infrastructure is sustainable and contributes positively to the district environment
  • Celebration of culture: We celebrate the artistic and cultural achievements of our people, and the diversity of their cultures
  • Cultural leadership: We support and encourage cultural leadership and capacity building.
In the past, community outcomes were defined as those things the community aspired to - they were long term goals developed in partnership with the community. With the changes made to the Local Government Act 2002 in 2010, the community outcomes were redefined as the outcomes that Council can influence and/or implement. This means that the old community outcomes have now been recognised by Council as community aspirations for the district, and Council has developed the new nine (more focused outcomes shown above) that define what Council can realistically be held accountable for achieving


Page reviewed: 11 Feb 2014 12:11pm