Mana whenua at the decision making table
Liz Kelly and Jill Day have a stimulating discussion about the power of having mana whenua at the decision-making table. Their insights and concrete examples of how beneficial the partnership has been for the Wellington community is inspiring.
Future for local government // Reimagining local democracy
New Zealand is facing a number of major issues at the moment, from climate change to inequality to increasing levels of poverty. Issues that will only increase if not addressed by both central and local government in a cohesive and collaborative way. In light of this, a review of The Future for Local Government was commissioned by 2021 by the Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta. Currently being led by an independent panel, it’s looking at how local democracy and governance will need to evolve over the next 30 years in order to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, and actively embody the Treaty partnership.
Community health // Expanding the role of councils
Oamaru Council is the only council in New Zealand to own a hospital. This came about in the mid-90s when the Oamaru hospital was becoming too expensive to maintain. Coupled with the centralisation of services that was happening at the time, Oamaru’s healthcare resources were set to move to a bigger centre like Dunedin. But the council recognised that their community needed access to immediate healthcare, and formed an agreement with the government to transform a different building into a hospital and take ownership of it.
Iwi engagement // Transforming communities through investment
The Ōpōtiki Harbour Transformation project is set to transform the region by bringing in $41-55 million per year. At its core, the Ōpōtiki Harbour Transformation is about capitalising on the huge opportunity for an aquaculture industry in the region. But this project isn’t just infrastructure. A 2019 council update on the Harbour Transformation project notes that four out of five areas in Ōpōtiki District were among the most socio-economically deprived areas in New Zealand, and that these statistics are directly linked to the lack of employment opportunities in the region. That’s what this Harbour Transformation Project, and the aquaculture industry it engenders, is set to change.
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Climate change // Tackling wicked problems
In 2015, South Dunedin - one of the most densely populated areas of New Zealand - was hit by major floods. The event was the catalyst for Dunedin Council's South Dunedin Future programme. The programme aims to mitigate the effects of climate change on the community - both in the immediate sense, such as how to lessen and prevent the effects of major floods, and also with an eye to the next 50-100 years, with a focus on how the area can adapt to the inevitable (albeit uncertain) changes in the climate and environment.