Successful Sustainable Development Needs Local Input
For immediate release on 16 July 2001
Central government has invited local government to help draft a national Sustainable Development Strategy for New
Opening the Local Government New Zealand Conference in Wellington today, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, told delegates that
strong partnerships would be needed between central and local government, the private sector, NGOs, Maori and all our
communities to achieve world leader status in sustainable development.
“The nations which are prospering today are those which have the capacity to create new knowledge and to apply it to new
and existing industries,” she said. “We know New Zealand has the capacity to be one of those nations and we are now
running to catch up.”
Referring to the current review of the Local Government Act as an empowering process for both local and Central
Government, the Prime Minister said that empowering local government to work for the well being of its communities is at
the very heart of the changes the Government seeks to make.
“No longer will there be a detailed prescription in statute of what local government can and can’t do. That legislative
strait-jacket has held local government back,” she said.
“We see government as a leader, a coordinator, a facilitator, a broker, a partner, and often a funder and provider as
well as involved in the critical task of economic and social transformation….We propose that [the Local Government
Act’s] purpose should be to enable local decision-making by and on behalf of citizens in their local communities to
promote their social, economic, cultural and environmental well being in the present and for the future.”
This definition is designed to fit with local government’s critical role in sustainable development … about meeting the
needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” she
Ms Clark said she wanted to make a strong statement on the New Zealand approach when she addressed the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in South Africa in September next year – a decade after the Rio Earth Summit.
“Our country has swung between extremes of policy and direction in recent decades… New Zealand has simply failed to turn
in the consistent economic performance at high rates of growth which are necessary to sustain first world living
To ensure environmental and social considerations get weighed alongside economic factors in decision-making, the concept
of triple bottom line reporting is being applied.
Ms Clark said that she sees local government as an essential partner in the economic, social and sustainable development
of New Zealand and looked forward to working with the sector.
More than 660 Mayors, Chairs, Councillors, Chief Executives and Senior Managers within an interest in local government
are attending the Local Government New Zealand annual conference in Wellington. ‘Elective Surgery – Changing the Face of
Local Government’ runs between Monday 16 until Wednesday 18 July 2001.
For further information please contact:
Strategy Leader - Communications and Information
Cell: 025 240 6789