Te Waihanga Research Insights: July 2022

Local government plays an important role in infrastructure planning and provision in New Zealand. Addressing New Zealand’s infrastructure challenge will require local government to provide infrastructure and services efficiently and effectively. How do we measure up?

There is relatively little hard evidence on the impact of local government structure in New Zealand on performance.

Te Waihanga economists Nadine Dodge and Peter Nunns have investigated the costs of three types of local government services: road maintenance, building consent processing, and overhead costs for governance and support services. These categories of activities represent over half (52%) of total local government operating expenses.

The New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy identifies a need to review the structure of local government to ensure that it provides infrastructure in an efficient and well-coordinated way, especially in growing urban areas that are spilling across existing council boundaries.

Discover the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy

This Research Insights paper aims to improve the evidence base on local government performance in New Zealand, focusing on the cost efficiency of council infrastructure and service provision.