The Local Government Commission has a general role of promoting good local government in New Zealand. In part, this is achieved by the functions of:
The Commission may at its own discretion, or as directed by the Minister of Local Government, consider, report on, and make recommendations to the Minister and any relevant local authority on particular matters relating to a local authority or local government.
The Commission also has specific functions to consider and determine with the main ones summarised as follows:
For a full description of all the Commission’s duties and functions under particular statutes see the Appendix.
The Chairperson of the Commission is also a non-voting member of the Representation Commission. The Representation Commission meets every five years to adjust the boundaries of parliamentary electorates following the Census.
Local authorities, as democratically elected bodies, are accountable to their communities for their performance including meeting specific statutory responsibilities. Certain government agencies, however, have particular oversight responsibilities relating to local authorities or to particular local authority functions.
Given these arrangements, the Local Government Commission does not have involvement in or responsibility for such things as:
For more information about agencies involved in local government oversight, see our Useful links page.
Under this Act the Commission has a number of responsibilities. These are:
(a) under section 16(7), to provide advice to the Minister of Local Government when a local authority has sought a binding ruling from the Minister on significant new activities proposed by a regional council;
(b) under section 26, to amend reorganisation plans and reorganisation implementation schemes;
(c) under section 27, to consider and determine applications from territorial authorities wishing to be called a city council or a district council;
(d) under section 30, if considered appropriate, to provide information about local government and to promote good practice relating to a local authority or to local government generally;
(e) under section 31, of its own volition or at the request of the Minister of Local Government, to report on, and make recommendations to the Minister and any relevant local authority, on matters relating to a local authority or local government;
(g) under sections 48R and 48S, to determine certain disputes between the governing body of unitary authorities (outside Auckland) and local boards;
(i) under Schedule 3, clause 53, to be an arbiter on the apportionment of assets and liabilities between local authorities, following implementation of a reorganisation scheme, where there is disagreement;
(j) under Schedule 6, to consider and determine appeals where a territorial authority declines a request from a group of electors for the constitution of a community.
Section 517T of this Act provides that the Commission must hear and determine objections regarding proposals for the transfer of ownership and administration of local authority land drainage and water race schemes.
Section 98 of this Act provides for the Commission to determine certain disputes between the Auckland Council’s governing body and local boards.
Under this Act the Commission has four responsibilities:
Section 29 of this Act provides that if the Auckland Council does not approve a levy recommended by the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board, and the Council and Board cannot agree on an arbitrator, the Commission must appoint an arbitrator.
Section 28 of this Act provides that the Chairperson of the Local Government Commission is to be a non-voting member of the Representation Commission.
Section 20(10) of this Act provides that where the Museum Board and the Museum’s Electoral College cannot agree on an arbitrator to determine the amount of the Museum’s levy, the arbitrator is to be appointed by the Local Government Commission.
Clause 20 of the Second Schedule to this Act provides that the Minister of Health may request the Minister of Local Government to refer to the Local Government Commission for inquiry and report, any question relating to the union, reconstitution, or alteration of the boundaries of any district or constituency of a district health board.
Section 2A of this Act provides that the Commission may determine any matter where a regional council and a territorial authority are unable to reach agreement in respect of any function, power, duty, property, right or undertaking of a former harbour board transferred to them.
Sections 304, 337 and 363 of this Act empower the Commission to review the boundaries of licensing trust districts and wards, and of community trusts, to ensure they conform with the boundaries of meshblocks.
 A reorganisation investigation can result in recommendations to a local authority, one or more reorganisation plans or both.
 A reorganisation initiative seeks a specific reorganisation, i.e. the union, constitution, and abolition of districts and regions, creation of unitary authorities, boundary alterations, and transfers of responsibility.
 A reorganisation request seeks an investigation into an issue or matter but without proposing a particular reorganisation.