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New Zealand launches programme to support community wellbeing

New Zealand launches programme to support community wellbeing
August 19, 2019

The New Zealand Government has announced a far-reaching programme to help New Zealand communities realise their well-being ambitions, goals and potential.

Announcing the programme, New Zealand Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta advised "this year we introduced the four well-beings - social, economic, environmental and cultural priorities - into the fabric of local government.

"We will now be working closely with councils and communities to power up the ways they can articulate and realise the things that matter most to them.’’

Specific options to be explored as part of the programme include:

  • Increasing local government’s involvement in the design and targeting of public services provided by central government;
  • Placing more emphasis on the ongoing relationship between councils and communities as the basis for community participation;
  • Innovative ways of conducting community participation and building the capability to support it;
  • Aiming for more effective and meaningful council relationships with Māori;
  • Ensuring council plans prioritise community wellbeing and are driven by robust data.

Minister Nanaia Mahuta stated "we know that councils never stopped working on these critical aspects of community life, but we believe there is more that can be achieved by focusing on some key aspects of local decision-making.

“The range of outcomes that could follow would depend on individual community preferences, but could include regional growth, socially inclusive and resilient communities, a healthier environment and support for appropriate community infrastructure.

“Our Government is committed to a strong, robust local government sector focused on wellbeing.

“Although there are good examples of innovative practices in the system already, we want to work with local government to broaden and accelerate their uptake.

“We recognise that beyond certain ‘universal’ needs, different communities have different priorities. This work will ensure our communities are empowered to enrich, not only their own lives, but to strengthen local democracy and make it more relevant.”

“Over the next few months, we intend to establish working groups with local government practitioners to help develop policy options.  I would then look to discuss these options with local government leaders early in 2020.

“We are hoping to refine the policy options during the early part of 2020 and announce specific initiatives in partnership with the local government sector by May next year.

“All our local government programmes are about working with local government to improve intergenerational wellbeing and make New Zealand a better place for all New Zealanders. This includes having a fit-for-purpose local government financing and funding system, working together to build community resilience and mitigate the effects of climate change, making sure all New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water, ensuring high-growth councils have the tools to provide necessary infrastructure, supporting councils to achieve more effective relationships with Māori, and developing strategies to assist communities impacted by high tourism demand."    

Related Articles

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8th May 2019 - Restored wellbeing measures endorse councils’ community focus

6th April 2019 - New Zealand launches national arts and health network

15th October 2018 - Sport NZ research confirms physical activity enhances mental wellbeing

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