What can local government really achieve?

What can local government really achieve? Not much, if their collective track record around New Zealand is anything to go by.

Local body elections are an interesting political exercise. Voter turnout is quite low, and the most likely voters are ratepayers – older, wealthier.

There’s no doubt that the decisions local government makes are really important for productivity growth. But they’re so constrained by central government.

Some local government functions should probably be amalgamated into national functions with far lower levels of discretion in terms of policy making enforced.

Local government can make a difference, but there are so many constraints placed on them, what is the cost of having a severely constrained junior partner that just gets blamed for problems when central government has just as much culpability?

How does society benefit if you have two levels of government pointing the finger at each other instead of working collaboratively to solve problems and deliver actual solutions instead of long term plans that will take decades to implement and still rely on numerous stakeholders sticking to the plan for the duration?