About local government

Local government is the system of locally elected members representing their communities and making decisions on their behalf.

These decisions can relate to the effective and efficient provision of services to meet community needs, the regulation of certain functions, and the facilitation of local activities to pursue community goals. In making these decisions, councils have to report to their communities in a clear and accountable way.

In local government, Waitaki District Council is what is known as a ‘territorial authority’ (a city or district Council). Territorial authorities are responsible for a wide range of local services including roads, water reticulation, sewerage and refuse collection, libraries, parks, recreation services, local regulations, community and economic development, and town planning.

As a council, we cannot achieve our objectives alone. We work closely with central government and with other organisations, public bodies, businesses and citizens.

The relationship between central and local government

Parliament is elected to deal with issues relevant to New Zealand as a nation and to its people in general. Local government works in much the same way. Individuals elect representatives to council to work on local solutions for local issues. This includes providing an infrastructural and planning framework in which communities can grow and the economy can flourish.

Everything we do as a council is within the legislative framework, established and maintained by Parliament or central government. Some statutes also establish our accountability to central government for delivering a function or for the expenditure of some grants and subsidies.