Fuseworks Media

Deals ‘can rebalance’ central and local govt relationships over infrastructure

The incoming Government has the opportunity to rebalance the relationship between central and local government and address New Zealand’s massive infrastructure deficit by adopting city and regional deals.

“Infrastructure New Zealand sees city and regional deals as fostering much more positive collaboration between central and local government and providing local authorities with greater input when prioritising infrastructure needs and addressing the challenges of their communities,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Nick Leggett, himself a former Mayor of Porirua.

“There is an enormous opportunity to build delivery capability in regional and local communities.”

“It is clear that the incoming government has been elected with a strong mandate to devolve decision-making back to local communities. Couple this with the pressing need to accelerate infrastructure development nationwide, and city and regional deals could provide the means by which these challenges can be met through better partnerships and more opportunities for sustainable funding. Central government’s role will be to develop these deals into a nationally coherent plan and provide the necessary oversight, coordination and expertise to help deliver.”

“Councils should benefit far more from the economic growth they’re helping create and that their communities are paying for,” Leggett says. “At present we have a lopsided model where the benefits of economic development mostly go to central government while local government bears most of the cost.”

“Earn back mechanisms, user pays charges and GST sharing on housing developments should all be on the table to address this inequity.”

The introduction of new funding and financing tools alongside the improved use of existing funding mechanisms is also required to achieve the investment needed to accelerate the development of infrastructure in our cities and regions.

“It is important to get all the important partners in the same room. Along with central and local Government, iwi and the private sector must be at the table right from the start,” Leggett says.

“City and regional deals fundamentally allow central and local governments to play to their strengths and establish long term partnerships that deliver the infrastructure improvements communities need in a nationally coordinated and financially sustainable way. We need to see these deals established properly, taking the right time and recognising its less about “wish lists” and more about success over the long term. Think ten to fifteen years.”

City and Regional Deals – Laying the Foundations for Partnership is a new position paper released by Infrastructure New Zealand and is available at http://infrastructure.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Infrastructure-NZ-Policy-Postions-City-and-Regional-Deals-v2.pdf.


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