Guide to local government
Councils and citizens have many opportunities to work together - we can use these opportunities ourselves, and we can help others to participate. DecisionMaker Publications, the Centre for Citizenship Education, Local Government New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs, co-sponsoring cities, supplementary information providers, the VUW School of Government and others have joined together with the DecisionMaker writing team to provide information citizens can turn into knowledge with the aid of the DecisionMaker Guide to Local Government. Use this publication in its print, cd-rom or www.decisionmaker.co.nz form, DecisionMaker's supplementary social studies worksheets, the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government 2003 - and other sources - to help find out more.
In The big picture, the DecisionMaker Guide to Local Government looks at how local government is organised and what developments we might expect. In Our elected representatives, it tells you how to enrol to vote (as all citizens must) vote (as all citizens should) and stand for council or another local governance entity (as any citizen could). In Council and citizen, the Guide explores some of the ways in which councils reach out to hear the voices of the people they serve. How councils work describes some of the many important ways that councils affect our communities, and how we can have a say in what they do. In Councils and the law, we look at council's role in making regulations and implementing national legislation; as well as how the Officers of Parliament - the Ombudsmen, Auditor-general and Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment - provide checks and balances for local government, as they do for central government.
We hope you will take this book as a starting point for further action: show others how democracy works in New Zealand; recognise the diversity of people and of practice; borrow good ideas and adapt them for your own communities; hold the right people accountable for the right issue; consider how local government should develop over the coming years.
Our publishing goals:
From the recommendations of the former Speakers' 1998 report Restoring public confidence in Parliament.
“Just as we expect our democracy to work for us, we have to work
for our democracy. This means taking part in the decision-making process.
This means voting, participating in public life ...”.
In 2001 Sandra Lee, former Minister of Local Government, responsible for taking the Local Government Bill through Parliamentary process to become Local Government Act 2002, said
Chris Carter, who became Minister of Local Government, said before LGA 2002 was passed,