Local Government: Passing the NIMBYism buck

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
22 May, 2015

Auckland City, Auckland house prices. Politically, that is the government's most immediate local government issue. The government knows RMA reform is needed to reduce its anti-subdivision bias, and the clout it gives to NIMBYism. But the Northland by-election has made that much harder. The budget, by default, leaves the NIMBY problem to the Auckland Council.

The New Zealand Initiative is advocating greater devolution – shifting government functions and funding to local authorities, as in A Global Perspective on Localism. This Budget does not do that. More public debate is needed. Instead, government is increasingly devolving the delivery of social services, particularly housing, to local community organisations. That is a complementary form of devolution. 

The logic is the same. Local communities generally know their needs better than central government. Often local needs are best met by local solutions. Even when central government knows what is needed, it may not be able to deliver. Witness RMA reform.

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