This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.
Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.
GOVERNMENT – LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Central Government Control
Central Government control of local authorities is effected in various ways through various governmental or parliamentary agencies. The Minister of Internal Affairs, through the Department of Internal Affairs, attends to the constitutional aspects of all territorial and many special-purpose local authorities, and he also administers legislation of general application, such as that governing local elections and polls, rating, local authority members' contracts, the public's rights of access to meetings, and so on. Further, he plays an important advisory role in the local legislation field, a topic which has already been mentioned. The Controller and Auditor-General is responsible directly to Parliament for the general financial audit of all local authorities. The control of borrowing and roading subsidies is exercised by the Local Authorities Loans Board and National Roads Board respectively, while the Department of Health, the Ministry of Works, and other Departments of State also have important control responsibilities in their different spheres. In all, in 1960, 21 Departments of State were concerned with territorial local authorities in the administration of more than 60 statutes. Twenty-two statutory boards, councils, and other bodies were likewise involved. Eleven Departments of State and 12 statutory boards are similarly associated with special-purpose authorities.
Of the various methods of control, that exercised in the financial field as a whole is probably the most influential. It is one of the most vital aspects of the relationship between local authorities and Central Government for, in addition to the close supervision of their financial affairs in general, local authorities are completely subject to Government in respect of the maximum local taxation leviable and State grants and subsidies payable. This is inherent in the New Zealand system of government, under which the Central Government is responsible through Parliament to the people for the overall supervision of all funds diverted from private to public use.