Reputation research shows importance of local government increasing

30 Jun 2017

Kiwis are becoming increasingly aware of the important role local government plays in the performance of the country as a whole, new research commissioned by Local Government New Zealand shows. 

The second Local Government Reputation Research surveyed 2,492 members of the public and 406 businesses to measure public and business attitudes to the local government sector, determine how interest and interaction has changed over time, and understand any triggers for this. 

The first survey was done in 2014 and highlighted the need to improve the reputation of the local government sector in New Zealand, and sparked the new CouncilMARK™ local government excellence programme.  The programme is now underway with 19 councils participating in its first year. 

The second survey has seen the overall public perception of local government remain stable.  It also showed both the public and businesses increasingly feel local government matters to the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealand – more so than in 2014: 

  • Importance of local government to New Zealand government increased from 69% to 78% for the public.
  • Importance of local government to New Zealand government increased from 78% to 85% for businesses. 

Those surveyed cited sound financial decision making, strong leadership to develop strategies for prosperity and wellbeing, and listening to and acting upon the needs of communities as the areas of greatest priority for local government.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the new survey showed the sector was on the right path with the excellence programme, which was designed to demonstrate and lift council performance across a range of service and delivery areas. 

“Local government has embarked on a process of improvement, an important part of which is increasing the understanding of the work councils do in their communities. The findings of the latest survey show an increasing awareness of the value of local government to the country, and this is encouraging to see,” Mr Yule says.

“There is of course a lot more work to be done to get to the levels of performance and engagement we and our communities demand, and there are a number of initiatives underway to help us get there.  Boosting the knowledge of the work of local government is a great step in what is a long-term strategy.” 

The CouncilMARK™ local government excellence programme sees councils assessed across four key areas: excellence in governance, leadership and strategy; excellence and transparency in financial decision-making;excellence in service delivery and asset management; and strong engagement with the public and businesses.