The acts summarised below are only some of the legislation that applies to all of local government. There are a number of other acts that local government uses and abides by.
The Local Government Act 2002 establishes the framework for local and regional government in New Zealand.
It deals with:
- The purpose, powers and responsibilities of councils generally
- The structure of local government
- The planning, decision-making, consultation and accountability of councils generally
- Governance and management of local authorities
- Council-controlled organisations and council organisations
- Obligations and restrictions on local authorities
- Provisions relating to members of local authorities
The Local Government (Rating) Act (usually referred to as the Rating Act) provides the mechanisms or tools councils can use to collect rates. A significant proportion of all Greater Wellington Regional Council’s activities are funded by the collection of rates.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 sets the rules for local government elections. It provides for the timing of local elections, the rights of individuals to vote at elections, stand for election and nominate candidates for election. The Local Electoral Act allows councils to choose between two voting systems for local elections - the Single Transferable Vote (STV) and First Past the Post (FPP). The Local Electoral Act also details the processes for determining local authority representation arrangements and enables polls to be held on the electoral system and Māori representation.
The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 sets out a list of meeting procedures and requirements.
LGOIMA also promotes the open and public transaction of business at meetings and sets out the availability to the public of official information held by local authorities.
This Act regulates situations where a councillor's personal interests affect, or could be seen as affecting their duties as a councillor. It covers the making of contracts between local authorities and its members, and to the restrictions on the actions of such members when matters in which they have a financial interest are under consideration.
The Biosecurity Act 1993 provides a legal basis for excluding, eradicating and effectively managing pests and unwanted organisms. It provides councils with a range of functions, powers and options for the management of risk organisms.
The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is founded on the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. It defines the functions and responsibilities of various authorities and persons on resource management issues. These include the relevant ministers of the crown and local authorities.
The Land Transport Management Act 2003 was amended in June 2013. The amendments have revised the planning and funding framework for land transport activities, and established a new policy framework for planning and contracting public transport, making it more straightforward, less prescriptive and reducing compliance costs. It also requires regional councils to each establish a regional transport committee.