Te rerekētanga o te kāwanatanga ā-rohe i te kāwanatanga ā-motu
The difference between local and central government
In Aotearoa, we have two tiers of government: central government makes decisions affecting New Zealand as a whole, while local government looks after the interests and needs of specific communities of our region, cities and district areas.
Central government is made up of members of parliament who are elected from across the whole country to make decisions for all New Zealanders.
In Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland local government is made up of the mayor, councillors and local board members who are elected to look after the specific needs of our region and local communities.
Our local government organisation is Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Council.
Working together to get the job done
While central government and local government have two separate jobs to do, they often work together to get things done.
Let's put it this way
You could think of the central government as your school principal, who looks after everything across the whole school and local government as your class teacher, who looks after everything that happens in the classroom, day to day.
Or you could think of central government as the directors of a large company. They look at the bigger picture and strategies and make sure that all of the departments are working together.
Local government is like a department within a large company. They look after and run a specific area of the business to make sure everything runs smoothly on a daily basis. Both the directors and separate departments have their own jobs to do, but they both rely on each other for direction and support to get those jobs done.
Who does what
Central government (country-wide)
- Makes laws for all of New Zealand.
- Runs the big things like housing, welfare, education, health, energy, national road and rail systems, defence, foreign policy, and public finances.
- Keeps an eye on employment, import and export, and workplace safety.
- Deals with taxes for the whole country.
Local government (council area)
- Provides local services like water, rubbish collection, parks, animal management, roads, public transport and libraries.
- Makes decisions about building consents.
- Makes bylaws (special laws for certain areas) within its boundaries.
- Collects rates from Aucklanders to keep the city going.
You may find this interesting
Auckland Council is the biggest council in Oceania.
- New Zealand
Auckland Council hasn’t always been as big as it is today.
In 2010, the Auckland Council was formed by an Act of Parliament, which was decided by central government.
It was formed by bringing together all of the eight previous councils in the Auckland region into one, which some people called the ‘Supercity’!
Read next topic -
What makes our structure unique.
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