Lernen von Schweiz und Schwyz

Aus schweizerischer Sicht kann man sich wohl kaum vorstellen, wie faszinierend, spannend und attraktiv die kleinteilige politische Gliederung des Landes in der Aussensicht erscheint – und dass man sich im Ausland durchaus für die Arbeit der Schweizer Kantone und Gemeinden interessieren, ja begeistern kann. [...]

Learning from Switzerland and Schwyz

From a Swiss point of view, it must be hard to imagine how fascinating, thrilling and attractive the small-scale political structure of the country appears from the outside – and that foreigners looking at Switzerland may find the workings of Swiss cantons and councils interesting or even inspiring. [...]

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. [...]

Councils need new funding sources

LGNZ’s inquiry into local government funding makes sense. It should not stop there. In fact, what would be needed is an investigation into the role of local government, coupled with the question of how a new local government finance framework could incentivise councils to go for growth and development. [...]

A Global Perspective on Localism

By international standards, New Zealand has one of the world’s most centralised forms of government. In other OECD economies, local government runs health and police services, accounts for the majority of public investment, and typically controls a third of public spending. In New Zealand, by contrast, local government has traditionally been small and weak in comparison with central government. [...]

Size is not the same as efficiency

Many Wellington local politicians are pushing this ‘super city’ idea, but is it really good for local government? Or is it simply the tempting, less democratic prospect of being the mayor or councillor of an engorged Wellington? [...]

Time to go local

Two things are an anathema to free-market economists: government intervention and monopolies. And one thing is even worse: When public services are provided by a central government monopolist. [...]

The global importance of local government

Throughout most of human history, cities were the dominant force of political affairs. From the very first cities of Mesopotamia in the seventh millennium BC, to Athens and Rome, and the city states of the Middle Ages, cities drove the development of political affairs, of culture, of democracy, of finance, of the arts, of education. History was made in and by these cities. [...]