The Productivity Commission released an Issues Paper inviting submissions on its inquiry into local government regulation.  The Productivity Commission is an independent Crown entity established in April 2011 to carry out analysis and research with a focus on productivity.  The terms of reference of the Commission are summarised in the Issues Paper as follows:

  • How could the allocation of regulatory functions between central and local government be improved?
  • How can central and local government improve regulatory performance in the local government sector?
  • How can the regulatory performance of the local government sector be measured in a manner that leads to continuous improvement in the way it regulates?

The Commission asks some 65 questions of the public to provide submissions on.  Some examples include:

  • The Commission's approach: where should the Commission's focus be and what are the main trends likely to affect local government regulatory functions in the future?
  • Local government and regulation: what are the roles and responsibilities of local government and are there other local organisations that should be considered?
  • Regulatory variation: do the different characteristics and priorities of local authorities explain differences in regulatory practice and how has the Treaty of Waitangi influenced how local authorities undertake regulatory functions?
  • Who should regulate: what are the advantages and disadvantages of centralisation and decentralisation and which factors are most important for allocating regulatory functions locally or centrally?
  • Getting regulation right: does the local government regulation-making process lead to good regulation and what types of regulatory functions more readily lend themselves to coordination to improve regulatory performance?
  • How should regulatory performance be assessed: are there areas of local government regulation where performance is not being monitored and assessed and what new performance indicators could meaningfully measure the regulatory performance of local government?  

A draft report is due in December 2012 and a final report is due, after further submissions, on 1 April 2013.  Initial submissions on the Issues Paper questions are due on 31 August 2012.  A full copy of the Issues Paper can be accessed here.