Latest posts

Local government

A tale of two countries

We have a choice in New Zealand if we are satisfied with our status quo and content to keep fighting the same old political battles for the next decades. Alternatively, we could break out of our old ways and try something radically new. [...]

The benefits of going local

It is high time we brought policy-making closer to local communities. Let's follow the British example and end the love affair with centralised control. Let's allow local councils to take charge of their own matters. [...]

Zoned in

What if New Zealand's towns and cities had the freedom to deviate from national legislation? [...]

Britain’s localist revolution

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered nothing short of a revolution to the way that Britain is governed. A radical devolution of power and money from central government in London to the cities of the UK has begun. [...]

Incentives trump all else

Imagine if both local and central government tax revenues reflected economic performance more directly. Under such a system, we would see a different attitude of local communities to a range of activities from mining to housing. [...]

Culture of co-operation makes more sense than amalgamation

By amalgamating all Wellington councils, there are few efficiencies to gain but a lot of local autonomy and diversity to lose. To realise some limited network effects, we should encourage better co-operation between neighbouring councils – without forcing them to merge. [...]

Incentives to grow

We need a local government finance system that rewards councils that go for growth and punishes those that inhibit development. Our current rates system achieves the opposite – and that is what is wrong with rates. [...]

What is wrong with rates?

The current local government finance system might in fact incentivise a council against development. Extra residential or business development typically costs councils money as they have to provide additional infrastructure and services to make it happen. Meanwhile, the benefits for councils are at best indirect and at worst non-existent. [...]