Purpose of local government 

The purpose of local government is—

  1. to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and 

  2. to meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses. 

Good-quality, in relation to local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions, means infrastructure, services, and performance that are—

  1. efficient; and 

  2. effective; and 

  3. appropriate to present and anticipated future circumstances.


In performing its role, a local authority must have regard to the contribution that the following core services make to its communities:

  1. network infrastructure: 

  2. public transport services: 

  3. solid waste collection and disposal: 

  4. the avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards: 

  5. libraries, museums, reserves, and other recreational facilities and com- munity amenities. 

Status and powers

A local authority is a body corporate with perpetual succession. 

For the purposes of performing its role, a local authority has—

  1. full capacity to carry on or undertake any activity or business, do any act, or enter into any transaction; and 

  2. for the purposes of paragraph (a), full rights, powers, and privileges. 

 The Local Government Act does not—

  1. prevent 2 or more local authorities engaging in a joint undertaking, a joint activity, or a co-operative activity; or 

  2. prevent a transfer of responsibility from one local authority to another in accordance with this Act; or 

  3. restrict the activities of a council-controlled organisation; or 

  4. prevent a local authority from making a donation (whether of money, resources, or otherwise) to another local authority or to a person or organisation outside its district or region or outside New Zealand—
  1. if the local authority considers, on reasonable grounds, that the donation will benefit its district or region, or the communities within its district or region; or 

  2. if the local authority considers, on reasonable grounds, that a benefit will be conferred on the local government sector as a whole; or 

  3. for emergency relief; or 

  4. prevent a local authority from making a donation (whether of money, re- sources, or otherwise) to a local government body outside New Zealand to enable it to share its experience and expertise with that body. 

Principles relating to local authorities 

In performing its role, a local authority must act in accordance with the following principles:

  1. a local authority should—
  1. conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner; and 

  2. give effect to its identified priorities and desired outcomes in an efficient and effective manner: 

  1. a local authority should make itself aware of, and should have regard to, the views of all of its communities; and when making a decision, a local authority should take account of—
  1. the diversity of the community, and the community’s interests, within its district or region; and 

  2. the interests of future as well as current communities; and 

  3. the likely impact of any decision on the interests referred to in subparagraphs (a) and (b): 

  1. a local authority should provide opportunities for Māori to contribute to its decision-making processes:
  2. a local authority should actively seek to collaborate and co-operate with other local authorities and bodies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency with which it achieves its identified priorities and desired out- comes; and
  3. a local authority should undertake any commercial transactions in accordance with sound business practices; and
  4. a local authority should periodically—
  1. assess the expected returns to the authority from investing in, or undertaking, a commercial activity; and 

  2. satisfy itself that the expected returns are likely to outweigh the risks inherent in the investment or activity; and 

  1. a local authority should ensure prudent stewardship and the efficient and effective use of its resources in the interests of its district or region, including by planning effectively for the future management of its assets; and in taking a sustainable development approach, a local authority should take into account—
  1. the social, economic, and cultural interests of people and communities; and 

  2. the need to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment; and 

  3. the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations. 

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