Governance Manual

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2.3 Principles of Local Government


  1. The Local Government Act sets out principles relating to local authorities.  These include:

    • openness and transparency

    • democratic accountability

    • implementing desired outcomes effectively and efficiently

    • being aware of community views

    • taking the long-term view

    • recognising diversity

    • providing Māori with opportunities to contribute to decision-making

    • working collaboratively with other authorities

    • using sound business practice in commercial undertakings

    • being a prudent steward of assets

    • taking a sustainable approach.

For further information, see Section 14: Ceremonies and other conventions.

  1. As a public body exercising statutory functions, the council must act according to the general public law principles of legality, accountability, rationality and fairness. For further information see Section 10.2: The types of decisions the council makes. This means that when making decisions the council:

    • must act within the scope of its legal powers

    • must act reasonably and its decisions must be supported by reasoned justifications

    • must act fairly and follow proper processes in its decision-making

    • is democratically accountable for its actions and decisions.

  2. These principles are reflected in the Local Government Act which sets out a number of principles that govern the council’s overall actions [1]. In particular, in its governance role, the council must:

    • ensure that its role, and the expected conduct of elected members, is clear and understood by elected members and the community

    • ensure that its governance structures and processes are effective, open, and transparent

    • ensure that, so far as is practicable, decision-making processes are separated for regulatory and non-regulatory responsibilities

    • be a good employer

    • ensure that the relationship between elected members and management of the council is effective and understood.

  3. The purpose of these principles is to ensure the council acts responsibly, fairly, and transparently, and is democratically accountable in its decision-making. Where there is a conflict between any of these principles, the council should resolve that conflict in an open, transparent and democratically accountable way [2].



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