As we track down to the General Election on 23 September the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce has joined with other Chambers across New Zealand in doing work on what businesses might expect from an incoming Government. Although the economy is in good shape and the prognosis for Christchurch and Canterbury is looking very good from a business perspective there is a lot we can still do better.
Central Government will be pivotal in assisting us to do just that. One of the areas that we think needs some more work is the need for Central and Local Government to work much better together. The interface between the two is often messy and unclear and both Central and Local Government tend to blame each other for the bits that fall down the middle.
There need to be new ways established to drive two-way conversations between Central Government and Local Government. We believe that Central Government needs to review where Local Government sits within the Central Government machine and we need to ensure that Local Government is adequately funded to deliver on roles delegated by Central Government. This will require some work on how Local Government is funded into the future as the current funding mechanisms will not be appropriate as responsibilities and roles continue to change.
We also need to ensure that Local Government is held to account for its collective action, its role in the community and its spending against agreed baselines. If specific work is done on this area by whoever establishes the next Government it has the potential to markedly improve Government outcomes at a national and local level for us all.