The difference between local government and central government

Te rerekētanga o te kāwanatanga ā-rohe i te kāwanatanga ā-motu

In Aotearoa, we have two levels of government: central government makes decisions about New Zealand as a whole, while local government looks after the interests and needs of specific communities in our region, towns and cities. our districts.

central government

The central government is made up of parliamentarians elected across the country to make decisions for all New Zealanders.

local government

In Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Local Government is made up of the Mayor, Councilors and Local Council Members who are elected to meet the specific needs of our region and local communities.

Our local government organization is Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Council.

Working together to get the job done

While central government and local government have two distinct 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 takes care of everything in the whole school and the local government as your teacher, who takes care of everything that happens in the classroom, day to day. .

Or you could think of the central government as the administrators of a large corporation. They look at the big picture and strategies and make sure all departments are working together.

Local government is like a department within a large corporation. They look after and manage a specific area of ​​the business to ensure that everything runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Directors and separate departments have their own jobs to do, but they both rely on each other for direction and support to get that job done.

Who does what

Central government (nationwide)

  • Makes laws for all of New Zealand.
  • Manages big things like housing, social welfare, education, health, energy, national road and rail systems, defence, foreign policy and public finances.
  • Monitors employment, import and export, and workplace safety.
  • Handles taxes for the whole country.

Local government (communal area)

  • Provides local services like water, garbage collection, parks, animal management, roads, public transportation, and libraries.
  • Makes decisions on building permits.
  • Makes regulations (special laws for certain areas) within its boundaries.
  • Collects fares from Aucklanders to run the city.

You may find this interesting

Auckland Council is the largest council in Oceania.

Oceania includes:

  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Melanesia
  • Micronesia
  • Polynesia.

Auckland Council was not always as large as it is today.

In 2010, Auckland Council was formed by an Act of Parliament, which was decided by the central government.

It was formed by bringing together the previous eight councils in the Auckland region into one, which some people have called the ‘supercity’!


A logo showing the letter 'A' in the style of Superman.

Read next topic –
What makes our structure unique.

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