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View from the Cordillera

A Commentary on Achieving Excellence in Local Government
Read by Municipal Leaders on 4 Continents
Published by the Cordillera Institute
(Vol. 4, Issue 18)
A Proposal for Reforming Local Government (part 2)
Guest Author
Hon. Sir Roger Douglas
List Member
House of Representatives
Wellington, New Zealand
For more information on our guest author, see the About the Author section below.

To order the full text of this commentary or to become a subscriber, see the notes below.

Summary of This Commentary
This is the 2nd issue in the 2-part series by the Hon. Sir Roger Douglas on reforming local government.  In part 1, he identifies key challenges for local government and details how those challenges can be met through changes in local-government structure.  In part 2, the focus shifts to changes in the functions of local government.  He starts by explaining the proper role of government and how to distinguish a genuine public good from other goods and services.  He then recommends which level of government should be responsible for redistribution; what are the core roles of local government; conditions for taking on any new roles; and conditions for increasing spending on existing roles.  The issue concludes with his recommendations for a referendum process and for annual budget approvals.  His recommendations are designed to improve the performance and accountability of our municipalities by making them more competitive and more responsive to the public.  These proposals are both innovative and practical.  And, they can be readily adapted to virtually any municipality.

About the Author
The Hon. Sir Roger Douglas was first elected to public office in 1966, as a Councillor in the City of Manukau.  While on Council, he served on the Finance and General Purposes Committees.  He entered the House of Representatives (the New Zealand parliament) in 1969, as the Member for Manukau.  When David Lange was chosen as Leader of the Labour Party in 1983, he named Douglas as the party's Spokesman on Finance.  He became Minister of Finance when his party won the 1984 election.  The success of his policies in turning around the New Zealand economy made him a sought-after spokesman on structural reform and privatization.  He has undertaken many international consulting assignments and World Bank missions in countries around the world.  In 1993, he founded ACT (Association of Consumers and Taxpayers) which became ACT New Zealand in 1995.  Sir Roger returned to parliament in 2008 as a List Member for ACT New Zealand.  Over the years, he has received many honors and awards including being made Member of the Order of Knights Bachelor in 1991.

As always, we welcome your comments.

David Barber
Director
Cordillera Institute
(416) 293-9300
CordInst@istar.ca
http://pages.istar.ca/~cordinst/



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About This Publication
Each issue of View from the Cordillera covers some aspect of excellence in local government.  It may examine one of the success elements; it may present a case study; it may introduce a resource (an individual, a group, a publication, etc.) which is advancing excellence; it may advocate a new direction for local government; or it may identify a wrong turn in public policy and offer an appropriate remedy.  This electronic publication is read by those who govern, manage, support, and sustain our local governments.  For more information, just click on the About VFC button below.

About the Cordillera Institute
The Cordillera Institute is an independent research and public policy organization dedicated to excellence in local government.  Since our founding in 1994, we have studied many high-performance organizations to learn what makes them successful.  From this research, we have distilled a set of principles, paradigms, policies, programs, and practices which are the key elements of their success.  Our mission is to be a catalyst — to empower municipalities, school boards, public utilities, and other local public agencies to achieve excellence by adopting and applying these success elements.  For more information, just click on the About CI button below.

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