About Us

The Local Government Think Tank (otherwise the Local Governance Think Tank) is a public sector resource to support innovative change that benefits all New Zealanders. Our purpose is to assist local government organisations to build stronger communities by generating research, providing insight and informing debate on current and emerging policy issues.

The Local Governance Think Tank does not advocate for specific positions or policies. Its intent is to facilitate cost-effective research of strategic importance to local government and those it serves.

In doing so, we collaborate with and complement work undertaken by other sector organisations such as Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and Taituara.

We currently have two key workstreams that we are taking a close look at:

“I think it is important the communities are listened to and that their voice is heard, particularly with local government boundaries more than parliamentary boundaries because you are talking very much about communities.”
- Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Our objectives

  1. Positioning councils as the leaders of governance within their communities working collaboratively with other stakeholders including anchor institutions.
  2. Facilitating informed discussion and sharing between and within councils about strategic issues affecting communities.
  3. The production of original and innovative work which results in positive change.

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
- Willam Pollard, Quaker (1828-1893)

Why the Think Tank is important

  • Research indicates there is poor connection between local government organisations and the communities they serve. More successful approaches to empowering strong communities will support better, more relevant and more timely decision-making.
  • A significant proportion of New Zealand’s population is not doing well economically or socially.  Local government has an important role in helping to address inequities within and between communities.
  • Some communities are losing population and key amenities, creating funding pressures and driving demand for new funding streams.
  • The pace of growth for some communities is hindering their ability to provide adequate services and amenities in an affordable, sustainable way.
  • Societal changes including an ageing population, increasing ethnic diversity and changes in technology are driving significant changes in community need.
  • By accessing international thinking and best practice we can ensure informed discussion contributes to better quality decision-making to address these and other issues.

“Leadership requires the courage to make decisions that will benefit the next generation.” - Alan Autry, American actor and politician