Jean Drage (ed)

Empowering Communities? : Representation and participation in New Zealand’s Local Government

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In the last two decades local government has been significantly reshaped and refocused. The myriad of general and special purpose local authorities have become a greatly reduced number of district, city and regional councils. Legislation has placed a greater emphasis on planning and policy, financial accountability and transparency. Governance and management roles have been clearly separated and public participation processes implemented.

This book discusses those changes under three headings:
- Representation
- Participation
- Ongoing Reform

Contributions have come from both observers and participants in local government (from academics, to people involved in policy development or advocating on behalf of the sector, to those working at the coalface). They examine the ideas and the practices that are part of the everyday workings of local government and the policy debates that underpin the changes. But the book’s specific focus is on how the changes impact on the way in which individuals participate in the process of government at community level.

So what have these changes meant for our communities?
Are they more empowered as a result?
Are they likely to be in the future?

Part A Representation
Graham Bush: Evolution of the Local Government Electoral Process
Graham Bush: STV and Local Body Elections: A Mission Probable?
Jean Drage: The Local Government Triennial Review Process: What does it tell us about Political Representation?
Judy McGregor, Eileen O’Leary, Susan Fountaine and Margie Comrie:Local Government and News

Part B Participation
Christine Cheyne: Public Involvement in Local Government in New Zealand: A Historical Account
Christine Cheyne and Margie Comrie :Involving Citizens in Local Government: Expanding the Use of Deliberative Processes
Margaret Cousins: Capturing the Citizens Voice: The Use of Referenda by New Zealand Local Government
Janine Hayward: Getting Beyond ‘Consultation: The Treaty Challenge for Local Government
Vicky Forgie: Submission-Makers Experience of the Annual Planning Process
Jo Lynch: Working In Partnership

Part C Ongoing Reform
Victoria Crawford: Elector Satisfaction Guaranteed?
Mike Reid: Exploring the Rhetoric of Partnership: The Dynamics of Local Government Reform in New Zealand

Praise for Empowering Communities

Candidates for office, managers in local government and concerned citizens need to have access to this book.

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