A number of government agencies and other bodies either have some oversight responsibilities in relation to local authorities or can provide useful information. These agencies and bodies are listed below.
This government agency undertakes annual audits of local authorities, on behalf of the Auditor-General, to give ratepayers assurance that local authorities are appropriately reporting on how they spend public money and on the services they have provided that year.
Citizens Advice Bureau
A network of non-profit offices run by volunteers who can offer free information and advice on how to deal with council processes.
Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)
Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs reports to the Minister of Local Government on matters relating to the local government sector. It is also responsible for administering key pieces of legislation which relate to the operation of local authorities, including the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 and the Local Electoral Act 2001. In addition, the department collates data from the triennial local authority elections.
The Electoral Commission maintains and updates the electoral rolls for each local authority election. The Commission is not responsible, however, for the conduct of local authority elections. Councils appoint electoral officers who are responsible for the conduct of the elections in their area.
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is appointed by Parliament to report on and advise on the management of the country’s resources and the impact on the environment. It can investigate the effectiveness of environmental planning and management by public authorities including local authorities, and advise them on remedial action.
Human Rights Commission
The Human Rights Commission can investigate complaints about unlawful discrimination and racial and sexual harassment issues including the actions of a local authority. Unlawful discrimination can be for example, on the grounds of sex or sexual orientation, marital status, family status, religious belief, race or ethnic origin, age, disability, political opinion, employment status.
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)
Local Government New Zealand is the umbrella organisation representing councils.
Office of the Auditor-General
The Auditor-General is appointed by Parliament to give Parliament and the public assurance that public organisations, including local authorities, are operating and accounting for their performance appropriately. The Office of the Auditor-General identifies good practice for local authorities and appoints the auditor to carry out an annual audit for each local authority in the country.
Ombudsman New Zealand
The Ombudsman’s Office can investigate complaints about the processes followed by council committees and officers when reaching decisions, though not the decisions of a full council. It also handles complaints about the release of official information by councils.
Office of the Privacy Commissioner
Under the Privacy Act, organisations, including local authorities, have to respect personal information being information that can identify an individual. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner investigates complaints about breaches of individual privacy.
Serious Fraud Office
The SFO can investigate and prosecute serious or complex fraud or corruption within local authorities.
Statistics New Zealand
Statistics New Zealand provides a range of statistical information relating to local authorities (regional councils, territorial authorities and also smaller local areas). This includes population data (both from the most recent census and also annual estimates) and council financial information. This information can be accessed from ‘Tools’ on the homepage and then ‘Geographic data and maps’ or ‘Large datasets’ and then “Infoshare’.
Taituarā - Local Government Professionals Aotearoa
Local Government Professionals Aotearoa (formerly SOLGM) is an organisation representing and promoting the professional interests of council chief executives, senior managers and other staff.