Better Local Services


The Better Local Services package enables innovation and collaboration in local government to deliver better local services and infrastructure.

The package supports the Government’s broader programme for building a productive competitive economy and better public services.

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) giving effect to the Better Local Services reforms was introduced to Parliament on 9 June 2016 and received its first reading on 15 June 2016. It was referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for consideration. Written submissions to the Select Committee closed on 28 July 2016. The select committee has now reported back to Parliament on the Bill and recommended a number of changes. Information about these changes is available in the committee’s report.

Why local government needs new options for better local services

Local government is a critical building block for our national growth and prosperity. Changes in demographics, economy, technology, and environment have created challenges for local government structures and processes designed and created in the 1980s.

Addressing those challenges requires councils to rethink how they approach service provision.

Central government can enable and encourage local government to innovate and collaborate and the Better Local Services package will create new options for doing that.

Better Local Services package

The package creates options for new structures and processes giving more flexibility for improving local government:

  • Councils will have greater flexibility to collaborate to deliver services to their region.
  • New processes for council-led reorganisations rather than a single Local Government Commission-led option.
  • A more proactive role for the Local Government Commission to work with local communities to improve their local government, with checks and balances.

More information

The following material relates to policy that is reflected in the introduction version of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). For information on the policy positions in the Bill as it was reported back from select committee, please see the select committee’s report.

Regulatory Impact Statement

Minister's media release

Cabinet paper

Legislation to help Councils plan for future

On 3 November 2015 the Minister of Local Government released a media statement to announce upcoming legislative change for the sector. This reflected a paper agreed by Cabinet on 27 October 2015. That paper is attached below.  The paper contains some redacted text, which relates to financial matters under consideration.

Next steps

  • The Bill will now proceed through the further House stages.

Contact us

Email if you have any queries about the Better Local Services reform package.